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  1. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    The Perfect Character?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Cacian, Jan 20, 2012.

    what makes an excellent appealing character to the reader or you?

    in other words what makes a perfect character,someone you would identify with or look up to?

    Maybe you could give a name or an example of your perfect character from a story or a book.
    Greatly appreciated!
     
  2. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    1. A strong personality, not necessarily one that I like or identify with
    2. Someone that isn't a cliche
    3. Someone who is integral to the story
    4. A character that is exceptionally well developed by the author, so I feel like I know almost everything about them
    5. A character who can still surprise me, even if point (4) has been fulfilled
     
  3. Berber
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    Berber Active Member

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    I tend to favor the quirky side characters in novels than the actual main character. I think it is because I favor non-traditional personalities, like Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter series for example. Because they are not central to the plot line, I think these characters have greater freedom to be, well, bizarre. My perfect character is innovative and original, inherently flawed (as all characters should be) but redeemed by their quirks, extremely well-developed and characterized. I tend to prefer characters that have more of a whimsical nature, wise but easily cheered and naive with optimism. I don't really take to the angst driven, doom and gloom types.
     
  4. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Just a question
    why would you not identify with a strong personality?

    welcome on board..I am after naive and optimisim they are hard to catch but when you do you know you are on a roll.:)
    The question I am after is how do you capture that?
     
  5. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    Because it's unlikely that a character who has a strong personality will be completely (or even remotely) like me, because individuals' personalities are so different. I'm not saying that I wouldn't identify with a strong personality because it's strong, I meant that if the personality is strong, it doesn't matter whether or not I identify with it, the character can still be exceptionally good.

    An example of a character I really liked (off the top of my head) would be Nick Stone from Andy McNab's Nick Stone thriller series.
     
  6. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I know of/heard of briefly about Andy mcNab series.
    It was on TV wasn't it?
    About the main character what is it exactly that Nick Stone does for you?
    What he does as a job or his personality ?
     
  7. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I tend to identify most with colourful characters, ones who have been hard done by the society or prominent individuals within it. So, of the top of my head, my all time favourites are characters like Raskolnikov (Crime and Punishment), Edmons Dantes (Count of Monte Cristo), Lady Winter (The Three Musketeers), Alice (Alice in Wonderland), Dracula (Bram Stoker's) etc.
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I think this is a somewhat odd question. There is no such thing as a "perfect" character. The characters I've loved in literature have been very diverse. A given individual's personal struggle, his own arc, may be very attractive, but that doesn't mean that I would recommend that every character be like him or have a similar arc.

    Possibly the most purely heroic character I've read about is Atreyu, in The NeverEnding Story, by Michael Ende. I love that he's so young and in so far over his head, yet still stands for what's right. But I don't write characters like him, probably because even though he's close to perfect in some senses, he's kind of boring in others.

    Hemingway wrote his best female character, Pilar, in For Whom The Bell Tolls. But she is nowhere near perfect as a person. She is, however, fascinating and entirely memorable. I wish I could create a character as powerful and memorable as she is.

    What about Nabokov's Humbert Humbert? He's despicable and criminal, and imperfect in a hundred ways, but he's endlessly entertaining and extremely well-drawn.

    So what does "perfect" mean? Stainless of character? Or interesting? Those two aspects rarely occur in the same person.
     
  9. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    In truth, both, but the reason I really like the character is that McNab develops him in such a way that I feel I know him really well, despite not having been 'told' anything about him (it's first person narrative). It's that realism, the idea that if you met the character in real life then you'd be able to have a conversation with them.
     
  10. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    I would discourage sitting down in front of a blank word document and trying to invent the most brilliant, perfect character ever written. To write a good character I think they should be able to convey some type of emotion throughout the book. Do we sympathize with this person? Do they make us laugh? Do we want them to do good?

    I will say that my favorite character is 'the man' from Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road'. He's very unique from what you will read in other novels and well written.
     
  11. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    the more of a reason to write one up. It is just an experiment.
    nothing like reality.
     
  12. Immy
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    Immy Member

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    I enjoy characters that seem real, simples :D Some authors develop their characters by trying to make them as unique and different as possible to make them 'original' but sometimes this can end up in the characters being amazingly complex and confusing and nowhere near realistic. I appreciate the more realistic characters where the little things make them unique and original. It's a delicate balance.
     
  13. The Magnan
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    The Magnan Active Member

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    The ideal character in my opinion isn't but perfect, and has flaws (everyone has a flaw no matter how small) in terms of perfection you can forge the character around concept of fulfilment, and that they try to achieve perfection, so that they themself become perfect.

    When I build a character I always make sure that their personality isn't too unbalanced. My assassin is cold-hearted killer on a contract. But when he's doing other things (getting info, meeting someone) the coldness is dropped in favour of a little more friendliness, after all noone will tell him anything if he is too aggressive, of course aggression may work but the subtle approach may pay off. The Perfect character is mized in terms of feeling and belief. They don't need to be all powerful or all knowing.
     
  14. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I like Dagny Taggart from Atlas Shrugged. She's a very strong woman who knows how to use her logic, and she doesn't give a damn about what people think (i.e. very liberated for the context in which the book was written.)

    Objectively speaking, I'm aware that Ayn Rand's writing is terrible, but I do love some of her protagonists.

    I also like quirky characters, as has been mentioned above. I like characters who are outsiders in some way -- like they have family problems and/or are considered social rejects at school -- but are still likeable. Characters that don't blindly follow the herd, and that can endure tough shit and still come out alive.

    I can like any kind of character, for the most part, as long as they're dynamic and interesting. The only character I *don't* like -- and I've mentioned this numerous times -- is when someone is unassertive and dependent, but it's treated as a good thing. I don't mind if that's someone's flaw, but I do not want to see dependency romanticized.
     
  15. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    The "perfect" character is someone that takes me on an emotional rollercoaster. Although he is from a cartoon series, Prince Zuko is one example. At first I hated/pitied/was annoyed by him, and as the story progressed I started to understand him and even started to genuinely care about him (despite him being a fictional character). There were times where I related completely to his struggles, and then to make me rip my hair out he would do something so counterproductive and I would go back to hating him... and then he would have deep and thought provoking moments that made me forgive him. Then in the end he made me cry my eyes out because of how proud and happy I was for him overcoming everything despite all he had been through.

    *SMH*

    Basically the perfect character is someone that is so well developed and well thought out that I feel like I know him. I can feel everything he's feeling, see everything from his perspective, and understand why he feels/thinks a certain way. And when something horrible happens to him, I know him so well that I feel the same pain he does. For him. The same way I would feel if something bad happened to someone I know and love in real life. As corny as this may sound, little Zuko has a place in my heart. :)
     
  16. Miss Jo
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    I like a character that has a quirk. Something that can be endearing but is surprising either for the character or the story. I like historical romance and most times the characters are either brooding, or have an inner strength they need to tap. In one though, the lead female was a 17th century naive kleptomaniac. She didn't do it maliciously, she would just wander around the keep and randomly take peoples things. She would always lose her own things too. It made her a little more real and very like-able. To this day she is one of my favourites.
     
  17. Harzlek
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    Harzlek New Member

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    A powerful character that is reluctant to exert his will over other people. A stranger to power, so to speak. He/she is knowledgeable and can fit their personality within most situations. A good example would be Kvothe from the King Killer Chronicles. He is always underestimated, to the despair of the one who underestimates.
     
  18. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    Good books! I'm still working through the first one but like it so far.
     
  19. twelveninetysix
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    twelveninetysix Member

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    Personally, I often find myself drawn to characters that have some aspect of the typical "Byronic Hero", i.e. they are flawed but also idealized. I'm not against more generic, relatable characters, but the ones that really capture my imagination are the characters who are much "more" than the average person, and not necessarily always in a good way. An example of this is Dorian Gray from The Picture of Dorian Gray. In some ways he is a larger than life character, with his charm and flawless good looks, but he is also believable because of his vanity.
     
  20. Blueflare
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    Blueflare Member

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    I like a character who surprises me. The best example of this that springs to mind is Jamie Lannister from the Song of Ice and Fire series. In the first book, I simply hated him; he was just a "bad guy". But then I read the later books, and saw that he wasn't that simple at all. [I won't elaborate in case it spoils that aspect of the series for anyone.]

    Any character that's well-developed and is believable is a good character, in literary terms, even if they're not good people.
     
  21. Drusilla
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    1) Not too clicheed, but it's virtually impossible to make a character that doesn't mind slightly of other characters in any way.
    2) A well rounded, complex character that has many sides.
    3) A character that can surprise; in good and bad ways.
    4) A character that you can relate to, even though you might have a totally different personality.
    5) A character that is unpredictable.
    6) A character that is portrayed in a realistic way.
    7) A character that has a realistic progress.


    (I'll try to come up with more later)
     
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