We’ve all seen it in books or in films – you get one main character who shines brightly while all those around him or her are two dimensional and not important – Trouble is, that can carry over into the plot, as well, so you get one bright storyline lacking definition or depth.
Some of that is done for speed, I’m sure of it. Generally, as a reader, I like to feel that the fictional world I am exploring is populated with realistic people. Sometimes, though, a short single-threaded story is fine – we all have different moods and want different entertainment at different times. Sometimes a light book and a short uncomplicated story is exactly right.
Then you get a fat book and the only reason it’s fat is because EVERYBODY tells their whole dang life story – all of them right from childhood. Some people will like that, too – hey, it takes all sorts, but some of the stuff that comes along seems to have nothing to do with the plot.
Okay, I confess, I’m a person who, as a kid watching Coronation Street with my mom, would wish that a spaceship would land in the middle of it. There didn’t seem to be any point to Coronation Street, yet it ran for years and was hugely popular – so don’t go by my standards.
I like to meet interesting and realistic characters, whether they are minor or major figures in the plot, but I do like there to be a plot. I don’t mind if there are childhood stories to tell – so long as it’s not everyone and his/her dog.
Okay, so I like to read complex stories and I like to produce complex stories. I do write a crowded book. My science fiction stories are full of characters and every one of them comes to life to one degree or another, but I don’t offer the reader psychoanalysis on them and things aren’t generally that mundane.
The characters themselves are who you meet, same as the real people you come across in the course of your day. Some you like, some you don’t, and some you’ll think are weird. They are each there for a reason and not to just fill the pages. They are part of the story.
Some have taken off on their own, but only within the limits of who they are. I enjoy those ones and let them do their thing ,and it is always rewarding.
What I like most about a range of characters, both main people and background people, is that it offers more to every reader. There’s going to be someone in there you like better than others and can identify with.
That’s what I look for as a reader, too, not only for a great read but the freedom to choose a character to follow.
Regardless of genre, what’s your favorite type of book? Does it vary a lot with your mood? Or are you particular about lightness or complexity?
Whatever you enjoy – Happy reading everyone.