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Favorite Characters

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In my reading experience I find most often I enjoy the main character (MC), but a sidekick is usually my favorite in the book.

It could be because I plant myself into the spot of MC and notice his friends more. Or it’s because the MC has something happen to them. Yes, technically they have a choice to act or not. If they choose to do nothing we don’t have a story. So I know what the MC will do most times.

However, the side characters have a bigger choice. At any point they can walk away, yet so many stay and put their lives in jeopardy. That to me is braver than the person of whom the problem is inflicted on. Side characters like Hermoine Granger in Harry Potter, who never, ever (even Ron left) left Harry’s side. In The Hunger Games Series, Peeta Mellark, who instead of covering his own rear end, decided to do everything, even sacrifice himself (if he had to) for Katniss. Elena Vilkas, Lina’s mother in In Between Shades of Gray, not only gives/protects her own children, but goes out of her way to help everyone she meets (Even a guard keeping them).

Writing Irresistible Kidlit, by Mary Kole suggests that the best MCs are the ones we fanatically love or love to hate. I love characters with heart. This heart seems to mostly shine in the selflessness of sidekicks, but sometimes I find it in a main character.

Shawn Spencer from the T.V. series Pysch. Shawn is highly observant, but doesn’t wish to hold a job as a detective. Instead he poses as a psychic and his antics often get him and his best friend, Gus into trouble. He is obnoxious, petty, and hides his emotion behind jokes. He takes advantage of Gus and his father all the time, yet we love him. Although Shawn can be very selfish, when it really matters, he is selfless. He puts the safety and lives of others in front of his own.

Sara Pennypacker’s middle grade novel, Clementine, Clementine is an eight year old who is artistic and impulsive. Her intentions are good, but misunderstood. She finds herself in the Principal’s office quite a bit. Clementine feels sorry for her friend, Margaret who gets glue in her hair. To fix the problem she suggests Margaret let her cut the glue out. Then her misadventures throughout the book are her attempts at repairing her friendship with Margaret.

“I have not had so good of a week. Well, Monday was a pretty good day, if you don’t count Hamburger Surprise at lunch and Margaret’s mother coming to get her. Or the stuff that happened in the principal’s office when I got sent there to explain that Margaret’s hair was not my fault and besides she looks okay without it, but I couldn’t because Principal Rice was gone, trying to calm down Margaret’s mother. Someone should tell you not to answer the phone in the principal’s office, if that’s a rule. Okay, find, Monday was not so good of a day.”

In John Green’s young adult novel, An Abundance of Katherines, Colin Singleton wants to matter. He wants to matter to his ex-girlfriend Katherine, to someone, to the world. He spends so much time trying to create this ridiculous theorem to become great that he gets in his own way. Instead he finds himself content, not being unique and able to explore a relationship with someone not named Katherine. He learns to interact with others through story and that he matters even though he isn’t a genius.

As a writer, I loved this quote and maybe it will inspire you too: “And the other moral of the story is that you, Smartypants, just told an amazing story, proving that given enough time, and enough coaching, and enough hearing stories from current and former associates of Gunshot Textiles, anyone-anyone-can learn to tell a damned good story.”

My favorite MCs are their own worst enemies. Their hearts mean well, but their natures create problems. It is something I can relate to. Plus my favorite main characters make me laugh.

 

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2 Responses to “Favorite Characters”

  1. I’ve read Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska by John Green. I’m guessing you’d recommend An Abundance of Katherines?

    • Jessica Toman Jessica Toman says:

      Yes. An Abundance of Katherines was my first John Green read and probably my favorite. Fault in the Stars is up there too.

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