It’s interesting how perspective works its way into our lives. For instance, a family can each take something different away from the same movie. My daughter turned on Finding Nemo the other day. I said, “This is a movie about a parent’s love, and how they’ll do anything for their kids—even chase them across the ocean.”
My husband agreed, but my daughter (17) heartily disagreed. “No it’s not! It’s about a fish with an overprotective parent.”
I’ve watched movies with my husband and had the same experience. Each of us relates to, or sympathizes with a different person in a movie. And that’s a good thing. If there are several characters that different people can each relate to, it makes the movie more successful.
So, on to writing: Does our novel only have one well written character? Does it have a well written MC and antagonist? Does the MC have a well written friend?
This is my thought: it’s really hard to write a good main character and to show his/her emotions and growth throughout a novel. Then, add to that the difficulty of writing a story with several well written characters.
Is this why the Harry Potter series was so successful? It has Harry—the underdog. Ron—the well-meaning best friend. Hermione—the know-it-all overachiever. There are the stuck up kids at school that everyone can relate to because every school has them, and an assortment of bad guys to keep things exciting.
More recently, there’s the Twilight series. Bella—pretty, but socially awkward. Her dad—loves his daughter, but doesn’t quite know how to act around her. The mom—ditzy and loveable, but totally into her own life. The Cullens—an eclectic family that each arrived at their “vegetarian” status through different life-experiences and cling together with fierce loyalty. Edward—good looking, smart, kind—would do anything for Bella. And Jacob—also good looking, smart, and kind—but who won’t do anything for Bella, except love her.
There are other examples where people read one book and they’re hooked with characters that come alive on the page. We don’t just see the main character’s “Sunday self” we get to see them at their best and at their worst, and how they interact with the others.
All I’m saying is: Does my most recent manuscript have a plethora of well-rounded characters like these novels do? Now I’m going to need to pay attention to this little detail while I’m editing.