It's bonus day here at Culinary Vagabonding! You get two (TWO) posts for the price of one!
This post, however, is writing oriented whereas the first one is just plain weird food oriented. If you missed it (and are vaguely interested, HERE you go).
I am a writer, first and foremost. This blog has been through so many different changes and the culinary vaga-blogging is my way of taking a respite from the YA trilogy that is sitting on my desk. Glaring at me. Boring holes into my soul.
The Ever Fabulous Elana asked for writers willing to blog about a topic of her choosing. Being the adoring fans, we followed blindly and over 150 of us are blogging about characters today. How cool is that? I love being a minion ;)
Characters are the meat of any story. They are the reasons you pick up the book, the reasons you keep reading. Characters can be ordinary humans, supernatural beings, a Sasquatch with a penchant for poetry. A character can even be a setting. I, however, am not Ernest Hemingway so I shall refrain from attempting that form of characterization.
For me, the most compelling characters are those that make me angry. Love them, hate them, if they don't do something that elicits a "what the FLEEP are you DOING!!!!" loud enough to startle my cat and six neighbors, they're just 'eh' in my book. I've thrown books across rooms because of characters (that one's for you, Samwise Gamgee). I've cried, yelled, slammed doors. Even sworn never to read another book by that author again because of what they did (or didn't do).
One of my favorite created characters has a moment where he goes all jerk on the main character, even though he knows better. To put it bluntly he has a major pity-party-melt-down. And I love him for it.
I've heard it before (in fact, read it in some of the other posts on this theme), that flaws make the character. It makes them believable, yes, but it also makes them relateable.
Because we all have flaws. We all have those little annoying things that grate on everyone's nerves, including our own. I write my flaws into my characters and not just my bad guys. Nasty flaws like short tempers and whining (not that I ever whine...). I find those are the characters I love the most. The ones that show me my own shortcomings in a believable light and, lo and behold, come out all right in the end.
One of my favorite characters is Meg Murray in Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. She has horrible self esteem, pretty much hates herself, thinks she's ugly, is clumsy, has a nasty temper and tends to point fingers at everyone but herself. And you know what? When I first read her I saw myself. A confused, scared teenager who just wanted to be seen for who she was, with dreams bigger than the confines of her high school and the peer pressures put forth by her friends. To this day, when I'm feeling particularly lonely, I go to Meg and remember that things turned out ok for her.
I'm pretty sure they will for me too.
(Make sure you follow the link above to Elana's place to click on the links of everyone participating. It'll keep you reading all weekend!)