Thursday, February 10, 2011

Character Appeal

So, I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about characters. Okay, I've really been spending a lot of time watching Criminal Minds - all 5 1/2 seasons in about 4 weeks (how did it take me so long to figure out this is one of the best shows ever??)!  What does a TV show have to do with my writing? Well, if you've seen Criminal Minds you know that the cast of characters is just that perfect mix. There's the typical FBI agent types and then the eccentric ones that make the show. I love crime shows, and for the most part they consist of those normal characters, nothing really outside the box, but for some reason these characters just stick with me. Penelope Garcia and Dr. Spencer Reid are so not what I would think of in a show like this, yet they are my favorites and their interactions with the other characters make me like those characters as well.

So, again, what does this have to do with my writing? Basically it got me thinking about how in YA and, really in any kind of romance novel I've ever read (and I've read a lot), these types of characters are secondary ones. Garcia's character is too wacky, too big, too loudmouthed. Reid's character is too nerdy, too socially awkward, too skinny. Yet they are the ones I love, because they seem more... well, more me. It had me looking at my writing and the work I've produced. My characters are those typical ones you expect to find. 

I realize why I haven't written a Garcia or Reid. Garcia is not that ideal lead girl, she just too much. And Reid, well, a character like him would require a lot of research :) But maybe that's the problem I'm having with my characters. They're starting to feel the same, because I haven't been willing to step outside my comfort zone, to spend the time to really develop a three-dimensional character that a reader will love for their oddities. I've been stuck taking the safest route in ensuring character appeal, without really thinking about the characters.

A while back I wrote about observing people, and I really think I need to do that more.  

On my iPod:

Nautical Disaster by The Tragically Hip

1 comment:

  1. I guess I need to watch more crime TV. ;-) It sounds like I'm missing out on some cool characters. It's funny because I do the same sort of thing when I watch movies now. I analyze the characters that I enjoy and try to figure out why they stick with me.

    One book I read (can't remember which one) said to walk around inside my character's head and think about how he/she would react to all of these real-life situations. It was fun and made me realize that the characters are in all the little (even nerdy or quirky) details.