Writing characters with character
By Kele Moon
My tastes as a reader have always varied vastly, from children’s fiction like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, to Pat Conroy’s modern day southern classics, and of course, a massive amount of romance and erotica from every genre possible.
I never understood why I lacked a specific genre, why my favorite books were never anything alike. It took me years to figure out that I was a character reader. I have a passion for vibrant, true to life characters that carry the story and are so real to me it feels as if they truly live and breathe in my mind.
As a writer, I started to study what makes a character stand out. What elements it took to make a protagonist visceral to a reader. I could write a book on all the tiny different elements that go into making real characters, but the most important rule is they need to have flaws. Granted, they need to have strengths as well, characteristics that make us love them, often times despite their flaws, but an imperfect character is vital. It makes them believable. No one is perfect, and if a perfect person did exist no one would want to hang out with them. We need to see their quirks, their secrets, their tragedies as well as their triumphs. More so we need to see how these different elements shape the character.
For example, in my book Beyond Eden, Danny, one of the heroes, is a callous, abrasive person few feel at ease with. But, what makes him likeable is his true, undying love for both Eve and Paul. He will do literally anything to keep them happy and safe. While he’s sarcastic and bitter about life, Danny is the character readers and reviewers rave about over and over again despite being the devil character in my Garden of Eden themed romance.
Flawed characters with strengths that make them redeemable resonate with readers.