Thursday, March 1, 2018

A Character to Remember

By Sparkle Abbey

“Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations.” Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

No matter the genre, no matter that wonderful twisty plot, no matter the well-drawn setting, when it comes down to it, we find that what we really remember from a good book are the characters.
Some characters like Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre, Anne of Green Gables, and Jo Marsh stand the test of time and have stayed with us a very long time.

What makes a character memorable?

There are a lot of opinions and great lists out there about what makes a character memorable, but here’s ours:

1. Relatable – They may be quite different from us in terms of background, physical appearance, education or income bracket, but there must be something about them we can relate to. We enjoy Miss Marple because of her curiosity and interest in what makes people tick. We can relate!
2. Unique – Though we want to connect and relate we also want them to be unique. Not a stereotype or a cookie-cutter personality. Characters are more interesting when they stand out from the crowd. Think Monk and his unique phobias and unusual view of the world.
3. Talented – They’re not only unique they are good at something. Perhaps they are a virtuoso in some area, perhaps not. Maybe their talent is standing their ground, or telling it like it is, or taking care of details. Memorable characters do brave things and to do that they need to have a gift to share with the world.
4. Rootability – Okay, that’s probably not a word. But what we really mean is give us someone we can root for. Not someone who is perfect. Not someone who always has the answer or doesn’t get into jams. We want a character who we can care about, worry about, and cheer on as they work their way through the ups and downs of the story.

So that’s our list. What do you think makes a memorable character? Have you read a book recently where a character stayed with you long after you finished the book?

Sparkle Abbey
Sparkle Abbey is actually two people, Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter, who write the national best-selling Pampered Pets cozy mystery series. They are friends as well as neighbors so they often get together and plot ways to commit murder. (But don't tell the neighbors.) They love to hear from readers and can be found on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, their favorite social media sites. Also, if you want to make sure you get updates, sign up for their newsletter via the website.

1 comment:

  1. Great points here, y'all. Especially with mystery series, I almost always forget later the details of who killed who and why and what the key clues were--and by later, I mean almost immediately. But it hardly matters when the time spent with the characters has been such fun.