Sunday, January 29, 2012 Question of the Month

The fine folks at Hyperink post a good question: What makes a compelling character in a book or movie?

To me, a flat character is one who always acts in the way that’s expected. The good guys shouldn’t always be good and the bad guys shouldn’t always be bad. But too often, especially with amateur works, the characters do little that’s surprising. The easiest way to spot this trend is by looking at the villains in almost any action flick. I’m going to be writing about Percival Everett’s Assumption for the Front Porch blog, but the book is haunting because the main character, Deputy Sherriff Ogden Walker, doesn’t always act like you’d expect a Sherriff to act. This is an important lesson for me to learn while I’m working on my own novel. Don’t be afraid to make a character do something, within reason and motivation, that he or she would not normally do.