Monday, June 7, 2010

larger than life

i am reading Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel. something he said really struck me because i had never thought of it before.

he said that readers like "larger than life" characters. i, who have been striving for "realistic" characters, was taken aback. but then i started thinking about my favorite characters and how they can do things that none of my friends or family members can do. they say things i would never dare to say, just as Donald Maass explained.

and the really great characters, the ones who have that unshakable moral integrity and the desire to do right even at high personal cost, who nobly sacrifice themselves for the greater good--they are the best because we can always rely on them, even when people in our own lives let us down or fall short of our expectations.

these, and not "ordinary" characters, are the kinds of people i want living in my stories.

how about you?

*unrelated update: YA Highway is hosting yet another giveaway! be sure to stop by for your chance to win one of four awesome books!!


  1. i couldn't agree more. this was such a beautifully crafted post, kari. i love the way you fleshed out that thought.

    so, so true.

  2. I recently read that book myself. So helpful! So, yeah, I'm working on that...

  3. This is exactly why I LOVED WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL. Those little gems where you *facepalm* and think duh, that is so obvious, except I hadn't thought about it.


    There are more and more books out there that have these kinda dry, boring, REGULAR characters (at least they have really cool covers, which makes me pick the book up and read it, but then I get really sad/disappointed) and I have to admit, I'm wishing for another Harry Potter (so cheesy!) because he totally was larger than life, plus you're right. You could count on him. He was going to do the right thing in the end. And I love him.

  4. Tina--am i the only one who hasn't read it yet?? lol. good luck writing your breakout novel!

    Molly--yes. yes. my poor face has been face-palmed too many times in the last couple of days...

    omg i was using Harry Potter as a mental example of this too! although mostly i was thinking of Hermione and Dumbledore. i guess almost all the characters in HP are larger than life. what a good example! and wanting another HP is NOT cheesy ; )

  5. lol...well, I just wrote back to say that I finished (moments ago) a book with a larger than life character and I wanted to cry when it was over. I shall blog about it Wednesday.

  6. i look forward to reading it! i've been thinking about LTL characters all day today...


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