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A Strong Character

March 19, 2008

In every good story, there is a truly strong character. But what is it, exactly, that makes a character strong?

For me, it’s a few different things. One is readability. By this, I don’t mean that the character’s story is fun to read, I mean how difficult or how easy it is for me to understand the character’s emotions. On the one hand, a character whose emotions and body language are easy to read make it easier for someone to relate to that character. On the other, a character whose actions and emotions are vague allows a reader to interpret them differently, and also keeps them guessing. I also look at dialogue. As someone who loves to act and who spends a good deal of time reading, I know that if a bit of dialogue is boring, it won’t be remembered as easily.

The fact is, as a writer, I can say that writers may strive to make the main character their strongest character. Vivid description and interesting dialogue helps with this. However, sometimes the main character is not the strongest character. Here’s some examples:

In the “Inheritance” series by Christopher Paolini: Murtagh. Why? Simply put, he’s a complex character. Possibly more complex than Eragon himself. Murtagh has a dark history, as is evident near the end of the first book. He may have an even darker future, as one can infer from the end of the second book. There is a lot of psychological turmoil that occurs with him, whereas Eragon seems to go through more physical turmoil.

In “The Lord of the Rings”: Samwise Gamgee.  He is the loyal character whom nearly everyone remembers, either from the books or from the film (depending on your preference).He seems to know what the outcome will be, and if not for him, Frodo wouldn’t have thrown the bloody ring into the volcano anyway! He wouldn’t have even gotten to the door without Sam’s help; the spider would have eaten him first, or Gollum would have clobbered him. (We all know Gollum might win in a fist-fight.)

Hope this helps you!

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