One of the things every writer asks himself is, “what makes a book good?”, “what makes a reader hooked in a book”? Well, I was a reader way before I became a writer, and while I cannot speak for other readers, I can at least explore what I think makes for an interesting book for myself. In short words, I believe that a book is great if it makes me angry, sad, and happy; every single book that I read that manages to make me cry, laugh, and shout out in anger, I consider it on my list of best books.
But what makes us cry, laugh and shout out? That is the real question here.
Regardless if it is sadness, happiness or anger, for a book to drive into us enough emotion for us to actually express it out loud, we have to be emotionally attached to the characters and events happening in the book, but mostly to the characters, as it is them who drive the events and the plot forward. Therein lies the secret for success in any medium of storytelling: the characters. The most memorable books I’ve read had developed characters, with strong personalities and organic qualities and flaws. Some of them, in fact, didn’t even had that good writing, or the plots where a bit lackluster… but the characters more than made up for it.
So, what makes a character a good character? Well… I know I can point my finger at many of the awesome characters in the books I’ve read – Harry Dresden in The Dresden Files, Rand al’Thor in The Wheel of Time, Tavi in Codex Alera, and many, many others -, but I cannot for the life of me pinpoint what, especifically, makes them all such awesome characters. In your opinion, what makes an awesome character?