Welcome To Fake Paradise!

This is the personal writing blog for Joana Hill, creative writing major extraordinaire! Here you'll find the random ramblings and occasional writings of a girl obsessed with gay romance and the yaoi manga FAKE. You've been warned.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Writing Compelling Characters

Because I like to follow the cool crowd, I've decided to take part in The Great Blogging Experiment in which people post on one topic and we all see what different contributions everyone has :) As the title suggests, the topic is Writing Compelling Characters.

So. Characters. Personally, they're my favorite part of a book. Some people will read something and say they're a fan of it, but then go on to say how they hate everyone and their mother as far as the characters goes. Maybe this works for some people, but I don't get it!

I need to like characters to like a book. What's the point of sitting down and reading about their adventures if you can't root for them, after all? And for me, they don't necessarily need to be anything special. Me liking a character can be as simple as liking their characterization. If they start out as a Mean Girl and progress throughout the novel into a more sympathetic character, such as in Before I Fall, then I'm golden. I don't see the point of main characters that remain static throughout the book, I suppose. What's the point of the conflict if it doesn't change them for the better, at least a little bit?

Another thing I enjoy is quirkiness. To take another example, there's Dreamland by Sarah Dessen. In it, Cass, the older sister of the main character, Caitlin, runs off with her boyfriend and ends up working on a Jerry Springer-esque talk show as stage crew. One day, Caitlin watches a bit of the show and sees Cass by the side of the stage in one shot. She tells her mother, who becomes obsessed: every day she watches the show, hoping for a glimpse of Cass. It's this kind of small add-on to a story and its characters that makes me go, "Oh, cool!" and only wish I were that creative in my own storytelling.

I suppose that's it for my ramblings! Anyone out there care to add their own opinion?


  1. Yay for The Great Blogging Experiment! It's a great way to find new people! I'm a new follower! Hi, *waves*

    I love characters, I'm with you, they are what makes the story for me. Without them I won't hang on long enough to even say I hate the entire book. I want to be able to relate to them, know their quirks, understand their weaknesses, feel their emotion.

    Great points! Thanks for joining in on the fun!

  2. You're right! Characters should change and grow throughout the story.

  3. I love characters strong and weak, nice and mean...cool and uncool...boring or twisted...I just want to have a connection with them.

  4. I like the idea that characters have to change - great point!!! :)

  5. I love change in characters. I figure it's the main point of reading a novel, right? In the realm of Young Adult, it's often not so much about the age of the main characters as it is the struggle of that age realm. Changing from adolescent into an adult. Obviously, because of this, I'm a sucker for character change - it's the best way to show development, anyway. I don't think the character needs to be compelling from the very star, either. What makes them so compelling, so dynamic, is that they change, the way we do, and remind us of ourselves. :D

    Also, I don't care the meaning behind their names. ;]

  6. Lol Ashlie, I like your add-on about character's names. I didn't even think about that because that little rant-fest happened after this was posted XD

  7. Characters are my favorite part of the book too. If I'm not emotionally involved, I won't care for the book. Great post.