What a Character!

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My last couple of posts have been about the characters in my novels.  I guess you may wonder what I consider to be a good character.  I like ordinary people who are thrust into situations where they have to do extraordinary things.  Superheroes are fun, but they already have extraordinary powers.  I would expect them to win the battle, or survive the disaster,  or save the endangered rainforests.  I would expect a 6 foot 6 inch ex-military martial arts expert who is a proficient marksman to be able to take out the bad guys whenever he wants.

But what about John Brown, mild-mannered tax accountant who lives in Tongonoxie, Kansas and never fired a gun in his life?  John is getting a divorce, drinks too much, watches House of Cards on Netflix, and hangs out at Louie’s Bar and Grill every Saturday night because he likes their peel-and-eat shrimp.  He may be just a bit overweight, but when he survives the alien invasion apocalypse and gathers a few of his drinking buddies from Louie’s, he becomes a force to reckon with.

I like flawed characters.  Give me someone who is a little afraid to try something dangerous over someone who rushes in without giving it a second thought because he/she is confident of his/her abilities to tackle the job at hand.  Give me someone who shakes in his/her boots when confronted with a horrifying alien but eventually accepts the battle despite the fear, instead of a hardass colonel that can organize a militia from the remnants of humanity to make a ferocious fighting force.

The characters that come to my mind are not always the most moral or brave or intelligent person.  Sometimes they lie, cheat, run away, cry, bitch and complain.  Sometimes they fail.  Sometimes they feel like giving up because the fight, or life, is too hard, but in the end, they find something within themselves to help meet the challenge put before them.

There are an incredible variety of personalities in the world.  I want to see them in the books I read and the stories I write.

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