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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Searching for Irresistible

Have you ever had a fictional character stay with you long after you finished the book? Most of us had, and as a writer I can tell you that writing a character that lingers is beyond rubies as they say, and something writers aspires to create.

The problem is that thing that makes a character stay with you is nebulous and impossible to define. It’s also subjective. For instance, I could not get enough of Lisbeth Salander, the vulnerable, anti-social bi-sexual girl with a permanent bad-hair-day from Steig Larsson’s Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series.
Lisbeth fascinated me, while she repelled my sister. Ignoring my sister’s hateful whining (something I do on a regular basis) I’ve tried to pinpoint just what it is about Lisbeth that makes her such a compelling character. After much thought (most of it fruitless) I decided that it was her toughness and complete lack of moral compass intertwined with a childlike vulnerability that made her compelling.

So, you’re probably thinking, “Eureka, you’ve found it, If you want to create an irresistible character simply make her vulnerable.”

To which I respond, (brilliantly I might add) “Huh. How?” Because that is the problem: planned vulnerability in a story is usually easily spotted, creating a character that comes off as fake or forced and not the irresistible character a writer aims for. It’s the unplanned that is needed and you can’t plan for the unplanned. Hence my dilemma.

Let’s move on to another compelling character: Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. For this, I’m talking only about the Katniss in the first book, by the time I got to the third novel, I found her temper tantrums so annoying, I prayed for Suzanne Collins to kill her off. The only reason I kept reading was to see which guy she was going to go for. I was hoping for Gale because I have a weakness for bad boys. Handsome bad boys….

Whoops sorry, time to quit dreaming and get back on track. What was I saying? Oh, yes, how to capture the intangible thing that makes your character someone readers care about. I don’t have an answer and as I create character after character in my novels, I struggle to find it, that quicksilver, that wonderful, terrible, impossible thing that will make at least one of them compelling, intriguing and oh so irresistible.

If you have any suggestions, send me a line. All I know at this point is that creating such a magical character is something worth struggling for because the idea of someone thinking about my characters long after the book is closed is something writers hope to achieve and readers hope to find.

Speaking of irresistible, I thought you might enjoy this link to One Direction’s song Irresistible, so click the link and enjoy. One Direction's Irresistible. They're cute, but  not in the least bad. I do wonder about their hair, it seems a bit much to me.

Forever searching for all things irresistible. Gabriella

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