|sawyer_fountainhead.png (Photo credit: Marchange)|
I've been hooked on Lost once more--looking for hooks and twists and characterization to improve my own writing. Two characters, similar in personality, evince two opposite reactions from me: Sawyer and Anna Lucia. For one full season I wondered why. Then I discovered the likeability factor.
I love Sawyer with his sassy wit and vulnerability.
Anna Lucia is only nasty despite the pain from her past.
So why him and not Anna Lucia?
- Other characters like him. From the start, likeable characters accepted Sawyer. If Jack or Hurley or Sun could love him, then I knew something good resided there.
- Wit. He scowls and cusses and hoards and cheats, but he's funny. Hurley's nickname "Jabba," Kate's affectionate "Freckles" or Sawyer's moaning "son of a..." Angst ridden, he's funny.
- Vulnerability. We saw enough of his innocence hinted at to know reasons lie behind his pain. We accept that his past informed his present.
- Unexpected refinement. Sawyer loves to read anything. This macho man scavenges goof glasses, even patching disparate ones together so he can read tells us more lies behind this scoundrel than he allows us to see.
So do you have a character who is nasty, but a major force in your novel? How do you make him human? If he isn't, look at the four means of characterization above and try it out.