Friday, May 29, 2015

2015 Armchair BEA Day 3 - Character Chatter


Character Chatter
It's time to give your favorite characters some love! Characters are essential to a story, and they can make or break a book for some readers. Now's your chance to shine the spotlight on your favorite characters, or maybe your least favorite. Who's your favorite couple? What are the components of a well-written character? What are you favorite or least favorite cliches associated with characters?

My favorite characters are the ones that appear in the Charles de Lint's Newford books. I
especially like Jilly. The title of a book focused on her is The Onion Girl and I think that explains why I like his characters so much. They are multi-layered. They come across like real people rather than 2 dimensional. It's easy to suspend your disbelief because so many of the characters come across just like regular people even when they have a touch of magic.

I enjoy reading about the characters in urban fantasy novels in general because they are mostly regular people, maybe with something special about them, in extraordinary circumstances. Most recently I've been reading The War of the Alphas series by SM Reine. I've read both Omega and Beta. Alpha is next to come. The main character is a shapeshifter who can't shift. I also like Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson series, Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin series, CE Murphy's Walker Papers series, among others.
Henery Press Spring Logo
I enjoy mystery series as well. I find that lately I particularly like the light and humorous mysteries that Henery Press puts out. I love their slogan, "If you like one, you'll probably like them all." 

Basically for me what makes a good character is one that comes across as 3 dimensional. There is more to them than meets the eye initially. And they grow as the series continues or as the book progresses in the case of a stand alone.

As for cliches, my least favorite cliche is characters who fall into insta-love. I can live with love triangles as long as it isn't the main part of the plot, but the insta-love is in most cases ridiculous. I can understand the urge to get to know someone better based on the first time you meet them, but I have trouble with suddenly finding someone that you are deeply in love with at first sight. 

I also dislike characters that are added in solely to resolve plot problems. They may have been mentioned once or twice during the course of the novel or story and suddenly at the end they tie everything together conveniently as the killer or perpetrator.They are usually two-dimensional.

What makes a good character to you? Do you have character cliches in stories that really bother you?