Wednesday, March 11, 2009
E IS FOR EVERYMAN
I think most readers would agree that we read first and foremost for the characters.
I know for me the best stories are the ones where I can slip into that character's skin and BE him or her. And the ones I like best are the everyman characters who are common people -- people like me -- who have been thrust into extraordinary circumstances. This is where the act of reading a book becomes a personal experience. Because I can imagine myself as Alice falling and falling down the rabbit hole. I can hear the wolves howling through the walls of the little house on the prairie. I can love Edward with the same intensity Bella does and feel her self-consciousness in the face of such beauty.
So, while we as writers often want to make our characters quirky, I think it's really important to remember to not make them so quirky that people can't relate to them. They need to have faults -- faults that directly impact the story. They need to make mistakes. They need to be human.
"A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing."
- George Bernard Shaw