I have a series of questions to pose to you today. I’m thinking out loud as I ponder over my own characters but I really would like to hear answers from readers.
First, what kinds of characters attract you as a reader and/or writer?
I thought my answer would be more complicated than it is. I’m drawn to loner characters. Usually people who choose to be alone but aren’t necessarily lonely (although sometimes they can be). Ostracized characters who might be a touch bitter. I like people who function well as a solo unit. People who are secretive. Distrustful. Mercenary-like.
A significant point about these loner characters is that they never seem to stay alone indefinitely. They always find someone, or a group of someones, who worm(s) their way into their shell. They always create a piecemeal family made up of those related and unrelated by blood.
These characters are also always loyal. They’re smart, competent, and they protect those they care about with a wonderful fierceness. I value all of these traits.
However, I do enjoy finding characters who are the exact opposite to the archetypical loner. They’re a novelty because they do things I’ve never imagined doing. They throw themselves into situations that make my jaw drop. That’s always a fun experience as a reader and writer.
Now, what do the characters you’re attracted to say about you?
The answer is not so simple. This question makes me wonder if all writers do exhibit a level of narcissism and write characters that mirror themselves…or perhaps the selves they want to be. I know that for me some of the characteristics I listed above describe me. Not all of them.
Still, I prefer to read and write about loners no doubt because I feel a connection to them on a basic level. As an individual who has spent most of their life looking in versus taking part, I understand feeling disconnected.
This is a loaded question that I don’t have a straightforward answer to.
Finally, does it matter what the characters that attract you possibly say about you?
Barring attraction to utterly disturbed, truly evil characters because you see yourself in that vein, probably not. Humans all have a little good and a little bad in them so it doesn’t bother me to see bits of myself in evil characters and vice versa. Besides, seriously psychoanalyzing why I identify with certain fictional people sounds painful.
That about sums up my thinking out loud. What do you think?