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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Tips: Do Something Unusual

Don't forget to enter my Happy (Early) Birthday to Me Contest - Ends Tomorrow (11/17)
My own little character got me thinking again today. What is it about our favorite MCs that we love so much? Why do we ride along with them, as emotionally invested in their lives as they are? I have a few theories (leaving aside the obvious: he's a gorgeous piece of man-flesh and I'd read on just so I don't have to stop drooling anytime soon).

1. They're Unique and Quirky. But in a good way.  Could you root for Miss Popularity who never had anything bad happen to her?  Hell no.  As readers, we can often relate to characters who share our own insecurities or quirks or shortcomings.  Or better yet - a character who has even "stronger" quirks than we do.  We can like the spunky girl who draws all over her hands in marker and wears funky necklaces without caring what anyone else thinks, right?

Like my little Scooby Doo wanna-be, I love looking at a character in a book and seeing something unexpected there.  Some fun, little surprise that makes the MC completely distinct from any MC who's come before.

2.  They Don't Do What You Expect.  This is along the same lines as being unique, but it's more action driven. For example, you could have a quirky, mask-wearing MC, but who always followed the rules and got along with everyone.  See the difference?

Sometimes characters infuriate me so much because just when I want them to either (a) kiss and make up or (b) say "to hell with you" and move on... they do the opposite. And I'm left pulling out my hair, wondering how they could possibly make that choice.  And I turn the page.  Aha.  See, there's the key.  Why would I bother reading on if the MC makes all the sensible choices?  The ones that don't leave me second-guessing?  There'd be no point because I could see the ending coming from a mile away.  But when you have characters who act outside of our expectations (without being out of character, of course), that's the good stuff.

What makes you get invested with the MCs in the books you read?


Elizabeth Kolodziej said...

I have read about doing this before. It really works sometimes and others your just like no. I think its good to push your characters out of their comfort zones to see how they will react to situations. And its good to just write it all quickly without thinking in one sitting. You will be surprised at what comes out of it.

Liz ^_^

Melissa said...

I love when characters don't do what I want or expect!

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