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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Recommend a recent example of an excellent character in a story

   
Author Topic: Recommend a recent example of an excellent character in a story
benskia
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Hi.

Okay. Characters are probably most neglected in the stuff I've attempted up to date.

Would any of you care to provide some examples of characters done extraordinarily well in a recent work of fiction. So that I can learn for myself what the author has done to make them so strong.

Thanks.


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Spaceman
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Go to the list of published boot campers and look up any of their stories.
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mikemunsil
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Beth's character in "A Celebratory Kielbasa" http://www.verbsap.com/2005oct/wodzinski
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Beth
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oh my. I'm blushing.
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wetwilly
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"Never Let Me Go" by Kazuo Ishiguro.
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rustafarianblackpolarbear
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That was a spectacular story, Beth, if I do say so myself.
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rcorporon
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Beth, nice little story, but I guessed the ending before it was revealed. Nice little psycho main char .

In terms of excellent characters, read Steinbeck. Lots of Steinbeck. May I suggest In Dubious Battle, Winter of our Discontent, Cannery Row, and Grapes of Wrath?

All great character stories.

For spec fiction, try Martin, or the first 3 WOT books (DO NOT READ PAST THE FIRST 3... they are bad for you).

Ronnie


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Beth
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thanks, guys.
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rustafarianblackpolarbear
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originally posted by rcoporon:
"Beth, nice little story, but I guessed the ending before it was revealed."

Did you see the images in the sunglasses? After I finished reading I saw that and thought if I'd seen it at the start it probably would've ruined the ending for me.


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rcorporon
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I didn't see the image in the glasses, actually, I didn't notice the image at all .
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Gnomeinclaychair
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Anything written by Stephen King. Arguably his Four Seasons (with "The Body", "The Shawshank Redemption", "Apt Pupil", and that other one I can never remember) is his best book. It's mainstream fiction so he doesn't go too far out into la-la land like some of his other works.
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franc li
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In the writing course I recently completed, the instructor went on a bit about Flannery O'Connor.
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nimnix
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Steven Brust (Vlad Taltos series)
Simon R. Green (Nightside series)


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Monolith
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I know I keep going on about her writing, but try Laurell K. Hamilton's books.

She has two series out( I've read only one of them.)

Anita Blake-From the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series

David Fientuch(?) His Hope Series (The Fisherman's Hope starts it out I think
The cadet that begins the whole thing has to take charge of a ship after the whole officer chain of command is wiped out in and accident.)

I think I'm going to throw this one out there as well.

Ben Raines-from the Ashes novels by William W. Johnstone

Anne Wilkes-the crazed pyscho nurse from Misery (great villan)

Those are only a few the characters I liked reading.


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rustafarianblackpolarbear
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quote:
Anything written by Stephen King. Arguably his Four Seasons (with "The Body", "The Shawshank Redemption", "Apt Pupil", and that other one I can never remember) is his best book.

The last one is called The Breathing Method (A Winter's Tale). I got the book last christmas and couldn't stand any of the stories. Of course I hadn't been able to get into anything else by Stephen King and remember not liking his style. But I have since read the Dead Zone, The Green Mile and the first Dark Tower novel and loved them all so I will probably give Different Seasons another go in the near future now that you've reminded me of it.


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Ray
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I just finished reading Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke, and I was impressed by every one put in there, but especially with the characters Strange and Drawlight. They seemed to jump off the page for me.

Other characters that have stuck with me were Roland from The Dark Tower, Mark Twain's Huck Finn, Lisa from The Girl Who Owned a City, Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice, and (I'm in a severe minority with this) Mat from Wheel of Time. There's others, but I can't think of them right now.


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Inkwell
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I would recommend the (main) character, called Fitz, from Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy. You'll probably have to read a good bit of the series to understand just how wonderfully complex Fitz is, but that's not exactly a bad thing.


Inkwell
------------------
"The only difference between a writer and someone who says they want to write is merely the width of a postage stamp."
-Anonymous

[This message has been edited by Inkwell (edited December 11, 2005).]


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Leaf II
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"I would recommend the (main) character, called Fitz, from Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy. You'll probably have to read a good bit of the series to understand just how wonderfully complex Fitz is, but that's not exactly a bad thing. "

Oh yes.... good post. That is an excellent study of a very well made character that everyone should investigate... even for pleasure. Robin Hobb is awesome.

Two recommendations of my own:
nearly EVERY character in 'Pillars of the Earth.' That is such a great novel for characters, every one of them is perfectly made.

Another character, and the one most illuminating for me: Lyra, from the His Dark Materials trilogy (golden compass, subtle knife, amber spyglass) by Philip Pullman. I can't even describe how wonderfully great she is as a character without rambling on and on. Just read it. And you'll be happy you did.


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apeiron
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This may have been tacitly assumed so far, but I thought I'd throw it out there... Have you read Ender's Game, by OSC? For that matter, I recommend any books in that series. I also highly recommend Enchantment.
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pixydust
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quote:
I would recommend the (main) character, called Fitz, from Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy. You'll probably have to read a good bit of the series to understand just how wonderfully complex Fitz is, but that's not exactly a bad thing.

Hearty amen to that one. I love Fitz. And the second trilogy really expand well on his character.

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Jeraliey
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I think Susannah of Stephen King's Dark Tower series is a really well-developed character. Really, if you ask me, she is THREE really well-developed characters. (I didn't really think Mia was all that well-developed, before someone points out that she actually had four personalities....)

Each one of Susannah's main personalities (Odetta Holmes, Detta Walker, and Susannah Dean) is unique, well-characterized, and easily distinguishable from the others, and the interactions between each of the personalities and the other characters are pretty nifty as well.

I actually wasn't all that impressed with Roland. Sure, he was cool, but he seemed a bit cardboard to me, especially compared with the rest of the ka-tet.

[This message has been edited by Jeraliey (edited December 13, 2005).]


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Matt Lust
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Takashi Kovach in Richard K. Morgan's Altered Carbon and Broken Angels.

Really well defined character.



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Jeraliey
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Also, the Marquis de Carabas in Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere.
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arcanist
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ugh, I tried to read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell and found myself wandering. The story was good and seemed to have some good points building up to, but I just couldn't focus on it. As far as British writing goes, I either love it or hate it. I agree, though, the characters were very three dimensional.
Personally I like Kiewalliah (some weird name like that, or Talon, or Tal Hawkins, from the Conclave of Shadows Trilogy by Raymonde Feist. Kaspar and Alysandra are likewise very real, human, three-dimensional characters from that trilogy.
any character from any book by Terry Pratchett, specifically Death in 'the Reaperman'. Death was more human than most humans and he's not even.
Also, the old war vet (whose name I can't remember) from Gary Braver(Goshgarian?)'s book 'Flashback'. That guy was great.

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