I recently watch the Brandon Sanderson lecture on Sympathetic characters and, considering I hadn't even noted anything down for some of mine, I decided it would be worth thinking about how these character are sympathetic, or not, depending on the situation.
Brandon lists the things he thinks you should do as follows:
- they have similarities to you or people you know [of].
- they face problems [underdog syndrome].
- they are consistant.
- they have depth [and/or quirks].
- you might aspire to be them.
- they have some sort of expertise.
- they are PROACTIVE.
I can hit a lot of these points for the protagonist of my Faebound books, I think. My main reason for this thread is to get everyone thinking about their characters as well, but my sneaky, sneaky, underlying reason is to get some feedback on Catherine.
I'm stuck on her proactivity and what this says about her character (since the books are first person, the way she talks about herself does a lot of heavy lifting in characterisation). Here's what I wrote in my notes:
So what do you guys think?Even when she complains about being proactive, she is enduringly curious enough to do them anyway. It is however possible that this is too contradictory - does it make sense? It could just be that she’s a cynic, but is she? Is it complicating things to call her this, and show her doing nearly the exact opposite things? Considering we are in first person the simple fact she is calling herself docile and boring says a lot. She doesn’t trust in herself?
Despite her hitting the majority of the other points (and I know I don't need them to all be present) proactivity is the biggest of them. If a fantasy character isn't proactive you have a boring book. To me it's as simple as that. Even though Catherine is active in a way, do you think her complaining about it cheapens it, confuses it, complicates it, or adds to that sympathetic quality I'm looking for?
Remember, although I'm looking for specifics to my character problem, I'd love at the end of the day for this thread to become general advice.
[An aside: dealing with this nature of hers would be her growth arc.]
[Another: I've got a blog post lined up for some time this month or next on more or less this subject, so please don't be too peturbed if I end up using some of your points. Be flattered I consider you guys representative ]