Thursday, June 08, 2006


Sigh Worthy Heroes, Feisty Heroines And Oh Those Nasty Villains

Let's face it, a book can have the most fascinating, exciting, imaginative plot ever, but if the characters are boring, predictable, one dimensional or wimpy, we're going to struggle to finish it, or not even bother finishing.

The characters make the story. I've read thousands of books, so remembering certain characters from some of them isn't easy. How many of us have picked up a book at the bookstore, or even off our bookshelves and tried to remember if we'd read it or not? If we have read it, more than likely we don't remember it because the characters were not unforgettable.

The most unforgettable heroine for me is from my all time favorite book, Agnes Turnbull's, The Rolling Years. Written in the 1920's, it's one of those wonderful family sagas that takes a character from childhood to their grave. I still remember Jeannie and how much I admired her and wanted to be like her. I remember sobbing in several different parts of the book, all related to my dear, sweet Jeannie. I think I was about ten years old when I read it the first time. If you ever get a chance, I encourage you to get it. The book is almost impossible to find, but well worth the search.

For an unforgettable hero, I have to go for a more recent book. Laura Kinsale's, Flowers From The Storm and the hero Christian Langland. I can't give you his description, although I believe he was supposed to be handsome. But I remember him because of everything he went through. To have a stroke, be unable to speak and have your family want to commit you to an insane asylum! Oh the poor tortured hero. And Christian becomes a better person for his ordeal, thanks a great deal to the heroine Maddy. However, another reason I loved him so much was because he was able to put up with Maddy. You may disagree with me, but I thought she was quite tiresome and it just made me love Christian all the more for loving Maddy.

One unforgettable villain that still gives me chills is Jim Beckett from Lisa Gardner's, The Perfect Husband. He seemed so absolutely normal. Everyone liked him but in reality, he was a serial killer. People found it so hard to believe that he could be evil and to me, that's the scariest kind of villain. The ones you would never could suspect.

What about you? Do you have one or more unforgettable characters in your memory bank? Who are they and why do you remember them?


Paula said...

Both Elizabeth and Darcy from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE have stuck with me for decades. I loved Scout in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. John Corey in Nelson DeMille's books PLUM ISLAND, THE LION'S GAME and NIGHTFALL is an unforgettable character. Lt. Mendoza in Dell Shannon's Mendoza series of police procedurals. Einstein the dog from Dean Koontz' THE WATCHERS.

Granted, several of those characters are from series, which makes it easier to remember them, but I would have remembered John Corey had I read only PLUM ISLAND. And Mendoza made his mark in the very first of those mysteries I read.

People who can write memorable characters generally succeed as writers.

Carla Swafford said...

The one that sticks to my mind is John Medina from Linda Howard's ALL THE QUEEN'S MEN. Limber and hot - read the book and you'll understand what I mean.