Last time I made some conclusions about what make a young adult character likeable, and which kinds of characters (boys) are easier to make likable than others (girls). I thought I’d give some examples of books I’ve read that have brought me to these conclusions. As I read more, my opinion is liable to change, and if I remember I’ll keep this post updated accordingly.
Amendment (7/10/2010): I found a female narrator I love! (see list)
- My favorite character so far: Bea Szabo from How to Say Goodbye in Robot (1st person, female protagonist)
- Male I like best: Colm Drucker from In the Space Left Behind by Joan Ackermann (3rd person, male protagonist)
- Favorite sidekick: Jonah Tate from How to Say Goodbye in Robot
- Excellent first person (classics): Holden from Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, and Alex from A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
I don’t feel likability is necessarily the most important trait on a character—after all, there are tons of types of characters, and not all of them are going to be easily likable, but a reader does need to feel some connection to your star to keep turning pages.
In my new book I’m putting some effort into making my main character, Lindsay, someone to care about. I honestly don’t know what she’ll turn out to be like, though I have a long list of the traits, characterizations, and history that makes her up. I don’t even know what point of view I’ll use to tell the story, but I like Lindsay; I just have to make my feelings for her come through on paper.
I also created a new character this week—a boy, Jax, who will help Lindsay out with her “quest.” I really like him and am excited to write about him. I’ll probably try writing some from his point of view here in the future.