Should this be favorite characters I've read? Characters I've written? How about a little of both? There are at least four characters I follow, hoping for a next book and a next book and . . . Yeah. Series I never want to end. One is Dresden, of course. Almost everyone who reads urban fantasy enjoys Butcher's Dresden Files series. The character does the right thing no matter what the cost, but he maintains a wonderful wise-cracking sense of humor. He is loyal as well as honorable. And he gets into such incredible messes.
Oddly, Gen from The Thief and the subsequent books by Megan Whalen Turner has much of the same feel. The later books are not as bright and fun as The Thief but they are wonderfully well-written. For me, that means having a very good central character that I can connect with.
Bren Cameron from The Foreigner series by C. J. Cherryh is another set I love. In this case the character is so perpetually out of place (living with aliens) that it is fascinating to see him adapt and adopt what he needs. Equally amazing is to watch how he doesn't do as well with humans as he does with Atevi after awhile. Besides, there are few authors who can do world building as well as Cherryh.
The last character I'm fascinated with is a recent addition for me. Ian Ruthledge is a Scotland Yard Detective in Post World War I. He is very well-written, dealing with what we would consider Post Traumatic Stress, but they called Shell-Shock and didn't take very seriously, considering the men cowards at best. This is a mystery series. I am now reading #4 and even though I tell myself to take a break between them, I end up buying the next one within a few hours of reading the last. Nook=instant gratification.
What about my characters?
I am character-driven as both a reader and a writer. I have to like the characters I write about or I will not like the story, not matter how well the ideas and world building are played out.
Many of my character find themselves in situations where they are the outsider (I blame Cherryh for this since I've read so many of her books with the outsider as the main character and love them -- more than just Bren.) Some of those books are the Silky Trilogy (fantasy), Ada Nish Pura (Science Fiction), Muse (Contemporary humorous mystery), The Servant Girl (Fantasy) and Paid in Gold and Blood (Fantasy). In each of these books the main character is in a place where he or she does not know the rules, but by being loyal and honorable can, eventually, make a difference.
I like those characters. I like seeing how they react when they don't fully understand the situation. I like having them do the right thing, even when it is not in their best interest. The character of Silkation (Silky) will likely always be an 'up towards the top of the list' favorite, though. I spent a lot of years with him watching him change and grow.
Not all my main characters are in that sort of situation. Both Glory (Futuristic Urban Fantasy) and Devlin (Science Fiction) are tough, take charge characters. Devlin is a long-time favorite, too. She gets things done. She's not very diplomatic and in her job as one of the top Inner Worlds Council Security agents, she's known to have caused havoc in order to do the right thing. (Yes, doing the right thing is a recurring theme in my books.) However, even tough IWCS agents have their odd moments:
Cha opened the door.
No amount of training could prepare a person for some things. Etech Cha Hao Chan in a lovely, long silk robe with his hair hanging free turned out to be one of those moments for Devlin. She stood there, stunned.
"Good morning, Devlin." Cha held the door open for her.
She forced herself to move forward without tripping. "Thank you. Nice morning. Good to be back. I brought us breakfast." Stop babbling! She mentally tried to slap herself instead of watching the way he moved past her with his hair floating behind him.
Dancer sat on the sofa watching with amusement, which didn't help at all. She took a breath and crossed to the kitchen table, pushing aside some of the equipment and putting her basket down. She did not watch Cha as he moved past.
So there it is. It sounds simplistic, but the characters are never that easy to write. However, as long as I can connect to that part of the characters that I find most admirable and at the same time the hardest fo teh character to deal with . . . Yeah, this is fun.
There's nothing else I can imagine doing for a job. We're lucky people.
If you want to get to read about nearly twenty other writers, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. Be sure to read tomorrow's post by Sharon Kemmerer