What Makes You Love Someone?

I’ve been obsessing over my characters lately, fleshing them out and making them more likable. I’ve read all the typical writer’s advice. Give them:

  • a fatal flaw
  • a deep desire
  • an out-of-character quirk

But I don’t want to make my characters just likable – I want them lovable, so I have two questions for my readers:

  1. Who is one of your favorite characters in literature or movies? What makes you love him or her?
  2. Tell me some of the less obvious reasons why you love your best friend/ partner?
English: Cropped screenshot of Vivien Leigh fr...

Vivien Leigh  as Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are my answers:

  1. Scarlett O’Hara. I love that she’s proud and stubborn, and how those traits ultimately keep her from what she wants.
  2. I love the way Mike takes care of the cats.

 

8 comments

  1. Thanks for the link. The first character that came to mind was Cersei Lannister in the Song of Fire and Ice series (before the fourth book — as in before she became a POV character). She was the embodiment of everything I want from a female character: strong-willed, determined, cunning and devious. She had one goal and it was power. The show made a point of pointing out her redeeming quality, but it isn’t so clear in the books. As for my best-friend, she is bottled fire, never boring, a raging inferno who has the confidence to be who she is say and do what she wants. Thought their are traits I don’t like, she wouldn’t be her without them.
    How that helps.

  2. All the characters I’ve loved have characteristics that I can relate to or admire. Clarissa from The Hours loves life hopelessly, and is so self aware that she knows how silly she sounds sometimes. Holden Caulfield pretends to be strong, but is actually so innocent- he wants the world to be a better version of what it actually is. Matilda loves books and is so smart she can pull off pranks on her evil parents. Mick Kelly from The Heart is a Lonely Hunter is the perfect mixture of loneliness and innocence. When any character talks about something I’ve felt before, I’m immediately drawn to them.

  3. Two of my favorite characters are Father Tim from the “Mitford” series and Kinsey Millhone from Sue Grafton’s “alphabet” mysteries. First, I like Father Tim because he’s a morally decent character who is just unable to let himself open and vulnerable to love. He shows love freely to his congregation, but is unable to commit to loving his future wife until after he agonizes, laments, and nearly destroys their relationship. Kinsey is a different sort – a single woman who doesn’t seem to be willing to commit herself in love. Twice-divorced, she’s given up the chase and seems devoted only to her 80-something landlord, Henry Pitts. Great dynamics in both characters who seem very real because of the skill with which they’re written. A less obvious way I love my husband? Because of his calmness and extreme decency. :)

    1. I haven’t read either series but the father Tom character sounds fascinating. I’ll definitely pick that up. Thanks for the recommendation:-) I love idea of extreme decency – how beautiful.

  4. Hey Tracy,
    I found your blog via Change for a year, Jeff Peter’s blog. I like this question because the whole world of fiction writing is really different from what I’m used to. The idea of ‘creating’ characters seems like it would be a difficult and bizarre experience, I’m used to the characters I read and see being fully formed individuals by the time they reach me. Creating a person is a challenge I couldn’t even imagine undertaking

    I was going to say Holden Caulfield, but Tricia already laid claim to him. So I guess my second would be Hank Moody of Californication. I love how on the surface Hank’s an ass; but under that asshole exterior you realize his bad behavior comes from trying to reconcile his opposing desires to be a good father to his daughter and find his own happiness in the world of Los Angeles. I love that his flaws flow from something I can relate to. The fact that we can’t have it all. I can’t have deep meaningful relationship AND enjoy the love of every beautiful woman who shows me attention. I can’t have a successful career AND a carefree life of unadulterated happiness.

    I think there are some people that can decide what they want in life and stick with it. But I think a lot of us are like Hank and our entire lives will be a struggle between opposing desires, always chasing after one and then the other and never obtaining either.

    I’m an unrepentant bachelor so there is no real partner in my life right now. But the girls I share casual relationships with are all very self-sufficient, it’s a trait I admire and appreciate.

    1. Hi Evan,
      I love Jeff’s blog! I’m glad he brought you my way :)
      it’s true, when a character is really well written they seem so real and it’s hard to believe someone sat at their computer coming up with that character.
      Hank Moody sounds really interesting. I love characters with internal conflicts. My main character makes a decision to leave her old life behind, but I think it would be more interesting if she’s still drawn to the old life.
      Thanks for the great feedback!

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