Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Character Driven

I often wonder where in the world authors get their ideas. Some of my favorite novels are simple stories of tragedy, love and triumph. Others are outrageous tales of suspense and impossible adventures. But, in all of these the defining quality that pulls me in, and keeps me going back for more, are the characters. While I spend hours and hours and hours pouring over the intricacies of plot, I truly feel it would be all an exercise in futility without relatable and endearing characters that the reader can champion.

Most of the time when movies or books become timeless it’s because of the stand-out characters. Characters like Huck Finn, Jay Gatsby, Scarlett O’Hara, and even Harry Potter. Each of these characters are different, with their own triumphs and troubles, but the thing that ties them are the ways they impact our lives and our thinking.

At times I will say I just feel like finding a book that’s an ‘easy read.’ Meaning I don’t want to have to think too much. I just want to get lost in a fun story. Often these so-called ‘easy reads’ are the most entertaining. But, just as in Great American Novels these stories are held up by outstanding characters that I want to spend time with, getting to know, cry with, and laughing with.

So, I guess what I’m trying to say here is that, to me, character development is one of the most important aspects of creating a novel with staying power.

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