I avoided the editing scene today by turning my attention to my work in progress instead and it was a welcome break.
I love my protagonist she starts out so weak and vulnerable and really develops into a strong person as the story progresses. She has faced great tragedy and although she didn’t cope well at first she in time comes to terms with it and becomes empowered. She makes me feel proud!
Her boyfriend however is another matter. He is tall, dark and handsome. He is kind and sensitive. He is creative, wealthy and generous. He does everything right. He sounds perfect right? Perhaps he is too perfect. I have grown bored of him already.
He was quite intriguing at first. He was mysterious. He had a secret. He was and still is flawed but now that the secret of that flaw is out in the open, he has lost appeal. The problem is he is intrical to the story’s end and therefore can’t be pushed aside. I must do something with him because if I find him boring, I am sure my readers will too. I feel a major rewrite coming on.
All this got me thinking about characters. Why do we love them or hate them for that matter? I have hated some of the characters in books that I have read with a passion and not just the villains, sometimes the good guy is down right dislikeable. I like characters I can relate to or at least feel sorry for. I want my characters to have flaws, to evolve, to show emotion.
In Harry Potter I hated Lucius Malfoy and Delores Umbridge right from the start. Both characters were well crafted and we are supposed to hate them. Catcher in the Rye – Holden Caulfield, I could not stand the guy and resented my eighth grade teacher for making me read the book. Why? Perhaps I could not relate to Holden or I just found myself bored.
So I am asking you writers and readers alike, what makes you love or hate a character?