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When I was a kid, I found people frustrating. They were all so different, and so unpredictable. I liked working with things--scissors, paper, pens, pencils, paints, needle and thread, and so on. With things, getting the results I wanted might be possible or impossible, but the reason was simple--either I hadn't figured out how to make it work or those materials just wouldn't do what I wanted to do.

People, on the other hand--people could do just about anything for just about any reason!

I was really rather astonished when I realized that was exactly the reason that I loved anthropology classes in college--people do the most amazing things, and one person's reason for doing a thing is often quite different from another person's reason for doing the same thing. Once you get past the basic universal needs (things like food, clothing, shelter, companionship, love, and respect), people are much more different than I imagined when I was little.

That's what makes them interesting, and that is why I think characters are the center of every story.

What makes a "strong character"? In my opinion, it's showing enough of the universals that many readers can empathize with that character while also showing the important things that make that person unique.

One of the ways I celebrate the fascinating and delightful (and sometimes - still - frustrating) diversity I see in the people of this world is to write about a variety of characters in my fiction.

I love comments so I'll leave you with a question: What are some of your favorite examples of diversity in my fiction and in the works of other writers?

P.S. C is also for counting and making sure you're counted. I was voter #77 in my ward and #101 in our 2-ward polling place.

P.P.S. ysabetwordsmith, who created some of my favorite characters, has not yet closed her Poetry Fishbowl. You could stop by and leave her some prompts, if you hurry: http://ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com/2253447.html  Go ahead and hop over.  You can visit her and then come back here to share your favorite characters with me later.  I'll wait.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Apr. 4th, 2012 04:17 am (UTC)
I love characters that are realistic. Grumpy character that try to be nice are the best.
wyld_dandelyon
Apr. 4th, 2012 04:30 am (UTC)
Do you have a favorite?
bogwitch64
Apr. 4th, 2012 02:13 pm (UTC)
"What makes a "strong character"? In my opinion, it's showing enough of the universals that many readers can empathize with that character while also showing the important things that make that person unique."

This is going on my writerly wall of wisdom. Very concise. I love it!
wyld_dandelyon
Apr. 4th, 2012 11:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
deep_time
Apr. 4th, 2012 03:10 pm (UTC)
I haven't read your fiction, so I can't comment about that, but diversity in other books appeals to me. The first example that pops into my mind is the Otherland series by Tad Williams. It's a four volume series with a ton of characters, all of them hailing from so many obscure and out-of-the-way backgrounds that it almost verged on the comical. It was as if Williams had a scrapbook of ethnicities he wanted to turn into characters. !Kung San bushman? Check! Aghori mystic? Check! Kid with progeria? Check! Blind woman with cyberspace synaesthesia? Check! Chinese grandmother? Check! Aborigine psychopath murderer? Check! Incredibly stereotypical Romani? Check!
wyld_dandelyon
Apr. 5th, 2012 12:00 am (UTC)
Wow, that's quite a list!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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