Favorite Characters

picnicWhich 10 Characters Would You Invite to Dinner?

I have to laugh when I see headlines like this in book blogs and newsletters of various kinds. The articles generally go on to discuss male main characters and love interests, even if strictly speaking the books are not romances.  Or aloof, well-bred ladies.  The guest lists have a tendency to resemble a BBC costume drama.

Sure, I have my favorite characters but they probably wouldn’t be the best dinner companions.  Why?  Because they’re great characters — messy, broken, and difficult but endearing.  Or compelling.  Compelling is probably a much better word choise than endearing.

So who would be on this list?  Keep in mind it changes along with my reading but it includes:

Ronan from Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle books.  This teen is bluster and rage and noise. He’s more than a little chaos with a bit of calamity thrown in.  As the books go on and you find out more about him, you realize that is just Ronan on the surface.  Ronan beneath is a creator and nurtures others but there is still all that noise.

Adam also from the Raven Cycle books.  He’s Ronan’s opposite in many ways.  He’s quite and watchful.  He’s the poor kid on scholarship to the rich kid’s school and because of this doesn’t fit in.  It bothers him sometimes but he knows who he is even as that definition and awareness of same changes.

Amani in Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands.  A child of the desert, she respects and loves it for its beauty and danger even as she wants to find someplace better.  She’s smart and sassy and it’s hard to believe with her lack of impulse control and smart mouth that she’s survived this long but it would also explain her relationship with her aunt.

Elisa from Rae Carson’s Girl of Fire and Thorns.  Where Amani is a rough one who finds out how to be both bandit and girl, Elisa is a posh princess who finds her hard edges.  When her husband is murdered, she eventually ends up heading the rebellion, a reality no one saw coming least of all herself.

Elisa would be the best dinner companion of the lot.  What is it that draws me to a character if not elegance and polish?  I love strong characters, those who aren’t afraid to defy convention.  I don’t mind contradictions — the characters who appears rough and rowdy but as a nurturing side.  I want complexity. I want daring.

Now I just need to learn to create these characters for my readers.  Easy peasy . . .