No, I’m not talking about the trope (though I could! I love it!) No, what I want to talk about it is: why are your main characters, your main characters? Why them?
One of my least favorite kind of character is the one who doesn’t do anything. You know what I’m talking about. Life happens to them and other characters have to save them because they are incapable of doing more than screaming for help. And sometimes running into that cave that just so happens to be standing conveniently by, free of bears.
That said, I believe everything can work in the right setting. Did anyone see that Will Ferrell movie? Stranger Than Fiction? He doesn’t really do much of anything except shout at the air, but I still found the movie entertaining enough to sit through. Probably because I’m a writer, but maybe also because it was interesting. I mean, they start off saying that Harold Crick is going to die! HOW is he going to die?!
Anyway, I can’t have a do nothing kind of character. That would drive me crazy.
Speaking of The Chosen One! Chains of Destiny had a chosen one, kind of. There were only two people who could do the job and the other person wouldn’t do it, so…kind of! She (Reagan) is one of the worst MCs I’ve ever had. Not because she sucks that bad, because she didn’t. She’s one of the worst because she couldn’t carry the story on her own. Luckily, she didn’t have to. But even when I have two MCs, I want at least the hero to be strong enough to carry the story by herself if she has to.
THAT is the kind of character I like.
And I’m not talking physical strength either, though that is cool. I mean the person is interesting and active enough on their own that I can go the entire story with just them without ruining the story.
In my last vampire story (2 years ago now! Look at me!), I had 2 point of views, but my girl Caroline could have carried that entire story if she had to. I only had a secondary POV because that’s what I was used to doing, what I was good at, and I was afraid to stop. Lol! Really though, she rocked. She wasn’t especially strong or gifted. But when I needed her to throw down and fight for her life, she did it on her own. Unlike Reagan, who I had to drag kicking and screaming throughout the ENTIRE story. Now, to her credit, she fought when I told her to…I just shouldn’t of had to tell her. It was HER story for crying out loud! Step up to the plate!
calms self She is the reason I set up new rules regarding MCs. I still love her, but it was just too exhausting. If I’m stuck, I need a character that wants their story told so bad, they’ll fix the problem for me. They’ll tell me what to do! They’re my little buddies, and I need them as much as they need me, perhaps more.
So, I don’t have a particular trait that I look for. They don’t have to be a fighter or a brainiac or magical or the chosen one. I’m looking for main characters who take charge of their own stories. Who fight when they need to. Hide when they need to. And cry when they need to. If that makes any sense. And not just the main characters. I want everyone in the story to be like that. The side characters, the love interests, the villains, the henchmen, the mailman.
I want characters like Caroline and Korie, who work hard and are inquisitive and resourceful and don’t give up without a fight.
I want characters like Adria and Ares, who are so freaking evil, psychotic, and amazing that I will scoop them from a shelved story and keep looking until the right story comes for them.
I want characters like Riley and Harley, who use their brains and make normal INTERESTING, people who can hold my interest despite not having any kind of supernatural abilities whatsoever.
I want characters like Jillian and Rosemarie, who pop and sparkle and stand out from the sidelines without begging for my attention or being obnoxious because they know they are awesome enough to get my attention without having to do anything at all.
I want characters like Kyle and Brookes, who are genuinely sweet and kind and helpful and loyal, strong arms for my main characters to cry on when their worlds are falling apart.
I want characters like Taryn and Jade, who are protective and fragile and not afraid to feel fear and pain and longing.
I want characters like Safara and Eve, who are emotional and dangerous and powerful and exciting.
That’s who I like to work with (and read about for that matter). Not characters who complain and whine and have to be dragged everywhere. Not characters that are snarky for no reason. Not characters who are weird for no reason. Not characters who are reckless for no reason.
Who do you like (or don’t like) to work with? ^_^