What makes for an intriguing character? Is there a special formula to create the perfect character, one every reader can connect with, can enjoy reading about, can care about?If there is, it’s carefully guarded, with a rigorous application process. Or someone lost it.Character traits, the good or bad of them, are entirely subjective. Some people love when the heroine is a little beat down, a little mousy; other people would throw the book across the room. Some don’t believe a woman should curse as virulently as a man, others would find it strange if a twenty or thirty-something didn’t curse even a little bit. Readers may love the heroine to be strong, independent, or they may find it off-putting, depending on which generation they themselves were born into.In short, you’re never going to please every single reader. You may not even please half. But that doesn’t mean you’ve failed in making a character intriguing.In fact, I’d say you’re on the right path.Interest doesn’t come from a universal sameness of opinion. Interest comes when people can’t agree. Who wants to read something if everyone is going to think the exact same thing, answer the questions in the exact same way, feel the exact same way? I can tell you, I don’t want to read something everyone agrees on – sounds like a total bore. But the book with at least two camps? Now we’re headed somewhere.The same applies to characters.I like to read – and write – about women who are strong and stubborn and feisty, but break. Women who hate as passionately as they love. Women who can put a bullet in a person and then turn around and comfort a child. Someone who will curse out the President and then go in the bathroom and cry where no one can see her. Do they maybe have things a little easier? Maybe. But if you play in the world long enough, you’ll see that those types of people usually do, because they make their life easier. It doesn’t make them less flawed, it just makes them lucky.Intriguing characters, intriguing women, will always divide readers. But maybe, just maybe, they’ll unite other people.
L.M. Pruitt has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember. A native of Florida with a love of New Orleans, she has the uncanny ability to find humor in most things and would probably kill a plastic plant. Titles written include New Moon Rising, Shades of Gray, the first novel in the Jude Magdalyn series, as well as Hole in the Wall, a Jude Magdalyn short. She is currently at work on Taken. She makes her home in Florida with one two cats—one smart, the other an idiot.
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