I recently wrote a small essay about my characters. I have touched on that a time or two, but this time I was writing a bit of a why and realized it went all the way back to when I was a young reader....
When I was younger, I was a voracious reader. I read fiction and non-fiction. When I read fiction, I gravitated toward speculative fiction, but also read historical, contemporary, classics, kids stories (not as much choice as there is now!), even a little romance.
Recently, I wondered what characters stood out and why. I remember Podkayne of Mars, Starman Jones, Hosteen Storm (the Beastmaster), Menolly (from Pern), Bilbo Baggins, Ramona, Socks, Tarzan, and others. The why? I liked Podkayne because she kept fighting, even during overwhelming odds, Starman Jones? He was at the bottom of the heap and persevered to the top, without stepping on anyone. Hosteen had lost everything except his animal companions, but he carved a new life, made new friends. Menolly, Bilbo, Ramona, even Socks the cat, had various qualities of kindness, loyalty, willingness to learn and change, willingness to sacrifice for their friends. They were brave when they needed to be--all-around great people.
Many times in my growing up years, book characters were more desirable than real-life friends. Since I moved around a lot, that was often even more important.
When I started writing, I gravitated toward those kinds of character traits. Are my characters perfect? No, certainly not. But do they exhibit a desire to overcome cruddy circumstances, or overwhelming odds? Yes! Do I want them to exhibit kindness, understanding, tolerance, as well as smarts and really cool abilities? Yes. My cat character, TB, (Realms of the Cat), includes all kinds of animals in his circle of friends and allies, including dogs and crows, as well as people. Diego (Moon Crusher) learns to live with aliens of all sorts after he is cruelly kidnapped by aliens. Corree (Mendel Experiment), is determined to see both sides of many issues as she tries to save her family and friends. Noki loses so much, but he is still willing to learn, and grow. Sadly he has to adapt to things he'd much rather not adapt to. Even in my upcoming tall-tale, Billy Bob is physically perfect, but he uses his strength to help his neighbors and his kindness to help a bully become a friend.
What are your favorite characters and why? firstname.lastname@example.org