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Thread: A good author

  1. #1
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    A good author

    makes you love his/her characters. Otherwise, how can you care what happens to them. Does you agree?

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    Registered User Heteronym's Avatar
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    I must disagree for some reasons:

    a) We don't know if the writer wants to make the reader care or not;

    b) Caring is the reader's and not the writer's prerogative; I'm sure many readers come to care for characters the writers don't want us to care;

    c) Some writers aren't interested in characters.

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    Registered User Desolation's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heteronym View Post
    I must disagree for some reasons:

    a) We don't know if the writer wants to make the reader care or not;

    b) Caring is the reader's and not the writer's prerogative; I'm sure many readers come to care for characters the writers don't want us to care;

    c) Some writers aren't interested in characters.
    I agree with the above, and would like to add that there are plenty of good books that have been written with characters that the author wants to make the reader despise.

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    Asa Nisi Masa mayneverhave's Avatar
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    The more I connect with a given character, the less I am able to make any sort of objective analysis of it.

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    Bibliophile Drkshadow03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by African_Love View Post
    makes you love his/her characters. Otherwise, how can you care what happens to them. Does you agree?
    Yes, and no. One comment I have heard about some of my own fiction drafts from fellow writers is, "your character is unsympathetic."

    In fact, generally you want to make your main character sympathetic. Someone we can relate to, someone we want to root for, someone we feel bad about when things go bad. Often the antagonists are sympathetic too to a degree. (we can, of course, list specific works if anyone wants to play that game). I think this happens naturally because many good authors who do spend time crafting believable characters will fall into this pattern naturally; since real people are fine shades of sins and virtue, good and bad, etc.

    However, like all rules of writing these are merely guidelines. Not actual rules. There are plenty of examples where an author writes an unsympathetic character, a downright vicious vile excuse for a human being, but an interesting one and makes it work.
    "You understand well enough what slavery is, but freedom you have never experienced, so you do not know if it tastes sweet or bitter. If you ever did come to experience it, you would advise us to fight for it not with spears only, but with axes too." - Herodotus

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    holy fool _Shannon_'s Avatar
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    Not if it's not character driven fiction, and not if the characters are not particularly likable.

    I don't think the point of Native Son was to get the reader to love Bigger Thomas...or of Crime and Punishment to love Raskolnikov.
    "I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult."
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    Registered User laymonite's Avatar
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    I am reminded of Nabokov's university lecture that touches on this thread topic. He states that the worse thing a good reader can do is identity with a character or a situation, among other things. Check it out here:

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&sourc...goedSA&cad=rja

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    I don't think you have to love characters but you do have to feel they are real and believable and not merely stereotypes or cardboard cut-outs. No one could love Mr Darcy until he reveals the best of his character as a result of the Wickham episode.Up to then I found him romantic and rather fascinating...but love. No way. But then if he had been kind and nice at the beginning there would have been no story.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by African_Love View Post
    makes you love his/her characters. Otherwise, how can you care what happens to them. Does you agree?
    The process of art is the irrational, to express what cannot be expressed directly. The writer chooses characters to flesh out noetic qualities, and we recognize these qualities, either in our internal selves or our external environments. A character does not have to represent a positive aspect for us to recognize or even "love" them.
    If we do not connect with one or more of the characters on some level, then what is the purpose of the literature? Propoganda?
    Rob

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Heteronym View Post
    I must disagree for some reasons:

    a) We don't know if the writer wants to make the reader care or not;

    b) Caring is the reader's and not the writer's prerogative; I'm sure many readers come to care for characters the writers don't want us to care;

    c) Some writers aren't interested in characters.


    For what reason would a writer write for publication, if not to be read? In order to be read, a writer must engage the reader in characters on some level.
    Can you give examples of writer's who do not care about their characters?
    Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by _Shannon_ View Post
    Not if it's not character driven fiction, and not if the characters are not particularly likable.

    I don't think the point of Native Son was to get the reader to love Bigger Thomas...or of Crime and Punishment to love Raskolnikov.
    In a way, I thought the author was trying to get you to see things from Bigger's point of view, even though he was far from likeable. I remember Richard Wright once saying that Native Son was a warning to White America about what will happen if racial inequality continues and Blacks remain locked away in economically depressed ghettos. Bigger was a monster because he was a loser.

    what is the purpose of the literature
    The purpose of stories, imo, is to stimulate imagination and empathy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobinoftheMoor View Post
    The process of art is the irrational, to express what cannot be expressed directly. The writer chooses characters to flesh out noetic qualities, and we recognize these qualities, either in our internal selves or our external environments. A character does not have to represent a positive aspect for us to recognize or even "love" them.
    If we do not connect with one or more of the characters on some level, then what is the purpose of the literature? Propoganda?
    Rob
    Noetic? Intellectual? Thinking? What do you mean? Please

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    Depending on the author's intentions, I think a sign of a good author is getting us to be facisnated with his characters.

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    Registered User scaltz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drkshadow03 View Post
    Yes, and no. One comment I have heard about some of my own fiction drafts from fellow writers is, "your character is unsympathetic."

    In fact, generally you want to make your main character sympathetic. Someone we can relate to, someone we want to root for, someone we feel bad about when things go bad. Often the antagonists are sympathetic too to a degree. (we can, of course, list specific works if anyone wants to play that game). I think this happens naturally because many good authors who do spend time crafting believable characters will fall into this pattern naturally; since real people are fine shades of sins and virtue, good and bad, etc.

    However, like all rules of writing these are merely guidelines. Not actual rules. There are plenty of examples where an author writes an unsympathetic character, a downright vicious vile excuse for a human being, but an interesting one and makes it work.

    I don't entirely agree with you because I take pleasure on reading novellas where the protagonist's vile attitude about life eventually leads to his/her own destruction .
    They say darkness is evil; then why does everyone fight in light?

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    Registered User Heteronym's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobinoftheMoor View Post



    For what reason would a writer write for publication, if not to be read? In order to be read, a writer must engage the reader in characters on some level.
    Can you give examples of writer's who do not care about their characters?
    Rob
    Well, now this is open to speculation, but I would suggest the following examples:

    Satan in Paradise Lost; John Milton was a Christian who wrote the poem to justify the ways of God to men. I'm sure he wouldn't want modern readers looking up to him as a hero.

    Stavrogin in Demons; Dostoyevsky abhorred nihilists.

    God in The Gospel According to Jesus Christ; José Saramago is an absolute atheist and despised religion with an intensity shared by few contemporary novelists. You won't find an iota of sympathy for God.

    O'Brien in 1984; George Orwell makes the embodiment of the Big Brother ideology.

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