This week’s topic comes to us from Rachel @ A Bookworm’s Paradise who asks “what makes you like a character?”
Are there any physical qualities you look for in a character? What personalities tend to draw you to characters? Are there any archetypes you prefer, are you always falling for the villain? What makes you like characters?
For the most part, I tend to fall for characters for the same reasons that I fall for people. I like people who are smart, funny, self-deprecating, pop-culture-aware, hyper-verbal, empathetic and kind. I prefer deep thinkers, deep feelers, introspectors. People who are interesting, educated. People who have fascinating hobbies.
So, when I find those characteristics in a character, it’s only natural that I am drawn to them. In mysteries, it’s why I love the smart-aleck detective, the one that reads classic literature, and quotes it while he’s punching the bad guy in the snoot. Guys like Elvis Cole, Tres Navarre, Spenser and Myron Bolitar fit this mold perfectly.
I’m also pretty darned independent. I have MS, and I fall down a lot. But lord help you if you try to make a fuss or pull me up. I’ll snap at you, and while I won’t actually punch you in the snoot, I might think about it.
So, I have a soft spot for girls in books who refuse to depend on anyone, who run off and get themselves into trouble knowing that they will be able to get themselves out, who are actually kind of insulted when their alpha-male boyfriend even tries to save them.
So, heroines like Mercy Thompson, Kate Daniels, Sunny Randall, Caroline Merit.
I also feel like none of us is who we are on our worse (or best) days, and so I prefer my villains to be three-dimensional. I love bad guys who are yes, doing horrible things, but you at least get why they are doing it, how they got to this point where they feel like they have no choice but to kill the mayor, or blow up Atlanta, or end the world.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m always rooting for them to fail. But I’m never rooting for them to get killed in the process, cause in spite of everything, I *like* them. Ilona Andrews is the master of this, giving us Kate’s dear old dad, who keeps trying to end the world, but still wants to be invited to his daughter’s wedding, and will bring a good bottle of wine and a kickass present. THAT guy, I can get behind.
I’m also a sucker for a psychopathic sidekick. Your Hawks, your Joe Pikes, your Rangers, your Windsor Thorne Lockwood IV. Not really sure what that says about me, except that they might make me feel safer in a an unsafe world, because psycho or not, they are fighting for the good guys, and we need all the help we can get.
How do you pick your book friends? I’ll look for your introspection in the comments.