Now onto today's blogfest:
Elana Johnson, along with Jennifer Daiker and Alex Cavanaugh, has created The Great Blogging Experiment, explained in detail here.
Basically, on September 24th, a whole slew of writer/bloggers will write about Writing Compelling Characters.
|Fairy wren...no kidding|
I'll be using PARANORMALCY's favorite scary faerie, Reth, as my example.
Kiersten White created a whole cast of compelling characters, but Reth stood out to me as particularly compelling. (BY THE WAY, Congratulations to Kiersten White on debuting at #7 on the New York Times Bestsellers List in the first week!! That is EPIC!)
As I read this book for the first time, I found that if Reth was on stage, I couldn't even put my book down to go to the bathroom! I just knew something incredible/freaky/twisted was going to happen before he vanished again.
How did she do that?
Here are some thoughts:
- She limited his appearances: Reth only shows up when it matters. There's no idle chit chat with him. She doesn't show him going to the bathroom (if faeries even do that sort of thing).
- She showed other people's responses to him: We see the gestures of fear, hear the interior monologue of the MC whenever he's around--and after he leaves. Because we know how Reth makes her feel, we know how he ought to make us feel.
- She made him round: We all remember from school the difference between a round character and a flat character. Flat is like Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter. She has no character arc, learns no lesson, makes no great change. She is who she is, and that's an evil pink dictator. Round, like Reth, is a character who is both good and bad, who has depth, who may change at any moment, or whom we are just now getting to know. Through the whole book, I think I know what kind of faerie Reth is, and then Wablammy! My perception of him changes with one well-placed revelation.
- She gave him a connection to the main character: There's a reason I picked a side character for this little analysis. Main characters are almost always well-developed. We spend the most time with them, creating their back stories, giving them a favorite color, favorite TV show, favorite pet peeve. Reth is not the main character in Paranormalcy, but you get the feeling at times that it's his story, too. Kiersten accomplishes that feeling by giving him a very strong connection to the main character. He isn't just a possessive faerie, as he first seems. He's much more to Evie. Even before any grand revelations, we can feel that connection and it makes him important--compelling.
So that's what I think makes a character compelling.
What does it for you?