Saturday, July 16, 2011

You Heard the Man

          "They say, best men are moulded out of faults,
           And, for the most, become much more the better
           For being a little bad."
            -- William Shakespeare, "Measure for Measure", Act 5 Scene 1

    Today, I think we'll take it from an expert. 

    All of my favorite characters on the All-Exclusive All-Time list are definitely flawed.  (Peeta's on that list, which almost dashes the continuity there, but I think Snow and a certain venom took care of that.)  Maybe that's just a personal preference of mine, but I think it raises a point.  We all know that no one likes perfect characters, and most normal people don't like purely awful characters either.  Society tends to frown upon that -- but then again, I frown on society, so who knows.

    All of my Favorites have some sort of quirk that makes them interesting -- and not necessarily nice -- and influences the story line.

   A great example of this is Artemis Fowl.  He's not one of my Favorites -- I mean, he's a great character and all, but he's not on The List --, but he's quite flawed, thank you very much.  He can be ruthless, manipulative, completely full of himself.  (The fact that he's the biggest supergenius out there doesn't exactly hurt matters, either.)  He ends up showing gradual growth -- peachy -- but he doesn't completely lose his flaws in the process.

    What about you?  Is there a common thread between all your favorites -- or do you even pick favorites?  (The notion is completely foreign to me, but my mom actually doesn't pick favorites . . . except for Peeta, that is.) 

    And what scale should the characters be on -- way flawed or, in the words of Shakespeare, "a little bad"?


The Director said...

Heehee. I loved this.

Er...... my favorites always happen to be the person I learn the most about... aka The Main Character. Boring right? Eh, whatever.

Almost completely always I will tell you that my favorite character is the main one simply for the reason that that's the character I invest the most in. It's their story I'm reading.

And whoa ho ho, we have a problem-- Artemis definitely needs to be on The List. Heh. Heh. ;)

I think no matter how flawed, or "bad" a character is, you should give them at least the smallest sliver of hope or light. That's all. Because no "bad guy" is 3-D until they have a little bit of humanity and/or good tucked in their somewhere. No matter how small it is.

.....I think I said what I meant to say..... I'm rather sleepy so I'm not sure :P

Krista said...

I have favorites. But I have never compiled a list, which is a great idea. I find my favorites are not always the main characters. I like many secondary characters, some times better than the main chara cter. Like Ron vs Harry.

I like characters that have to struggle against something and succeed. Especially if they struggle against themselves. And they are always flawed.

Jenna Blake Morris said...

Director -- That's a good point. I hadn't thought about picking the main character for that reason, but it makes a lot of sense. And I like how you put the good/humanity element.

Haha, maybe I need to take another look at my List -- Artemis *is* my favorite Anti-Hero, after all... (:

I get what you mean!

Krista -- Most of my favorites are secondary characters, too. I'm not sure why -- a lot of the time they seem more interesting, I guess. And I agree, I liked Ron more than Harry. More sympathetic.

Another great point -- I love it when characters have something inside themselves working against them.

Alistar of Woodland said...

It's so encouraging to hear another writer talk about character development!
When I write, I almost always try to find a natural flaw created by the good in the character (example: a character who was softhearted might struggle with cowardice). Often they do battle against themselves--everyone sins, right?

The Story Queen said...

Haha, I tend to love the villains actually. Not in the "hey, I'd love to know that guy!" kind of way but I love when an author makes a creepy villain. Like Bellatrix from Harry Potter - holy wow, she freaks me out. I love her character though!

That being said, I don't know if my favourites (which I do pick) really are that flawed... I should start paying more attention to that.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Really great post! I guess it depends on the role, and the reason the person is why he is. I can put up with a lot of flaws in a character I care about, so long as I know why they're there. :)

Jenna Blake Morris said...

Alistar of Woodland -- I love what you said about finding flaws that correlate to good qualities. That sounds like it'd create a really natural balance. Thanks for sharing that!

Story Queen -- Eek, Bellatrix really is freakish...I hate her for killing Sirius and Dobby, but at the same time, she's really interesting. I've honestly never read of another villain like her. And I usually end up liking villains, too, especially if they have a bit of a sympathetic background.

Bethany -- Thanks! Great point. I've ended up liking some really unlikable characters, just because they had great backstories that explained everything. Snape, for me, is a great example of that.