>> Friday, August 21, 2009
Another oldie but goodie, who doesn't love the character who talks tough, acts rough, but is true blue inside? Gruff, apparently unfriendly, often physical and prone to violence, they tend to be uneducated, raised on some sort of street, or are the product of a traumatic upbringing. And yet, with patience, other characters (and the reader/watcher as well) get to learn that they are good people, true people inside. The examples abound on this one from Han Solo to Wolverine and, of course, it's not limited to men, though male versions of this character are more prevalent - but Eve Dallas is one of many female incarnations. There are the crusty scary old people who turned out to be sweet and the dork you let tag along because you had not choice who turned out to be a hero. I have a few of these myself.
It occurs to me that many of my favorite characters, when I describe them come across as charicatures. But I don't think that's why I like them. I think one reason I like them in my fiction and like to write them is because they are rarely a pure form of any character, but a mixture of different aspects of these different characters to make a unique whole.
The other reason why I think these (and other characters) work is because they really exist in real life. Who doesn't know someone who, at first meeting, seemed one way and then turned out to be someone you treasured in hindsight. I think this is why so many of these characters just never fall out of style because you "meet" them in fiction and they bring back memories of people you knew or people you always dreamed you'd meet.
I love a good character. Makes me want to write some more. And I'm not even done with my list of favorites.