...slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails...

what makes you fall in love with a character? What tiny little details that the author manages to slip in makes you crazy about them? Is it the way they speak? Habitual characteristics? The particular language the author uses to describe them?

any of these things can make a person fall in love with a fictional character. It happened to me this morning, while reading the Extraordinary Adventures of Horatio Lyle, by Catherine Webb. Lyle kept putting his hands in his pockets, fumbling around with magnets and gadgets, and being constantly bashful about things. I loved him almost instantly, from his yellowy ginger head to his boot tops.

the tricky thing with this is that you never know if the trait you've given to your character is one that people will like. Brenant, who is growing to be one of my favorite characters from Liberation, reminds me of my brother, but with longer, shaggier hair. Because of this, I've drawn references to him as "coltish boy," I've referred to his hair as a "forelock, which he threw back defiantly," and he is "long legged and spry." My brother and Brenant both remind me the wild and free spirits that I see in horses, particularly young ones. But that's coming from my view. Does that mean it will endear Bren to others as much as to me? Not necessarily.

another tricky balance to this is not being too over the top. While reading the book I mentioned beforehand, I was astounded by the author's writing style. I loved it--but it overwhelmed me at times. Some metaphors were beautifully drawn, while some habits were brought up too many times. It's like walking a tightrope--delicately draw them to your beautiful character, but don't shove the information into their face repeatedly.

i guess that could be said for all manners of writing, hmm?

 a twist to all of this is that you can use the exact same formula--the tiny details, the habits, the metaphors--to make the reader dislike your character. An example of this is Finnick Odair, from the Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins. Finnick is always chewing on sugar cubes, has a reputation for being a flirt, and seems more than a little creepy/pushy. Although I grew to like him over the remainder of the book, after those first fleeting details that Suzanne Collins slipped in there, Finnick made my skin crawl.

president Snow, however, shall always creep me out...

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