Where Personal and Professional Life Collide...

My life in 8 words: Organized chaos, by preference. Exhausting, but never boring

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I agree completely. There have been a lot of movies and TV shows and novels and comics that people recomment the hell out of, which have left me cold because I couldn't make myself care for any of the characters. I couldn't make myself care about the protagonist enough to want to see them succeed, I couldn't care about the antagonist enough to want to see them fail.

On the other hand, there has been a lot of crap published in all media that I actually liked, because I liked the characters despite the project's other failings.

It's what I call the Rowling phenom (simply because she's the most recent massive example) -- a good storyteller will trump a good stylist, almost every day.

(in novels, anyway. Short fiction tends to reward high stylists more, to a certain degree)

I always think of it a sort of integrity - in the sense of buildings not morality.

The characters aren't real (after one unfortunate friendship with someone who believed my characters visited her characters in her brain I like to be clear about that) but I have to act as if they are. The character I've built has to be able to stand on its own and act consistently. If I start pushing them to do things that don't fit the character I compromise that integrity and they require more and more work from me to hold them together.

Thank you thank you thank you! That's exactly what I've been trying to say to my students for ages now (Although, I don't put it nearly as well as you did). A good reader can always tell when a writer cares about a character, or if the writer put the character in for some other reason *cough*fanservice*coughcough*

It's something that feels like it should be obvious, and yet... I've read a lot of should-be-fabulous books where you can tell that the character served plot, and not the other way around. A book can be very good -- it may even be very good, in terms of being interesting and tricksy...but it's rarely emotionally engaging. And maybe I'm prejudiced, but shouldn't storytelling be emotionally engaging?

(I know some litcrit types who would disagree, but they have a different slant on the reading experience than I do...)

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