Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Memorable Characters

Creation of Memorable Characters

I must confess to rather liking good/bad girls. Francine wrote about Scarlett. I always think Scarlett is a good/bad girl. For someone who courageously battles against tremendous odds she is spectacular stupid at times. Her unrequited love for Ashley surely proves that. But how clever of Margaret Mitchell to make us like and dislike her.

One of my favourite good/bad girls if Amber in Forever Amber.(Forever Amber by Kathleen Windsor). Here is a woman who is a survivor, dragging herself up from the bottom of the ladder to become the mistress of the Merry Monarch, marrying very wealthy men on the way. However, in spite of her courage and determination, she too persists in her love for a man who doesn’t love her, and will never marry her. Like Ashley Wilkes, Amber’s Bruce is a drip of a man, and cruel too.

I don’t have good bad/girls in my books. I like my characters, although they might have one or two faults but they could not be described as good/bad girls. I particularly like Maddie in Eden’s Child. I have always had a soft spot for Maddie, not only is she courageous but she is kind and good too. She is attracted to my hero but he cannot abide her. Yet Nevis is not an Ashley Wilkes or a Bruce. He is all man and I confess to still being in love with him.

I remember all my characters. Of course I do, and I imagine other writers can too, but are they memorable to my readers? I have no idea for if you have a response from a reader it is usually immediately after they have read the book. If they do remember them for much longer I doubt I will ever know. I try to make them memorable…do I succeed? I wish I knew!


  1. For me, your most memorable heroine was Alfled in 'A Saxon Tapestry', Margaret!

  2. Hi Margaret,

    Oooh yes, Amber St. Clare, the darling of the aristocracy circa 1700s. Oh my, I so remember as a child finding bodice rippers amidst a plethora of Georgette Heyer historicals and Agatha Christie crime novels: on my mother's personal bookshelves. Of course Forever Amber one of many that I spirited away to read beneath the bedcovers with a torch. ;)

    Naturally my taste for the more enlightening romance novels took precedence: I began searching aunts' boakcases and that of friends' of my nother. Ha ha, that was it, by age 11 I set out on a quest for raunchy reading. I discovered Angelique by Sergeanne Golon in Smiths (W.H) and relished all the sequels. Wow, I can tell you, I was on a roll! Though I think the greatest coup was in finding a hidden copy of Lady Chatterley's Lover. It was the first contemporary raunch I'd come across.

    Although I love all the classic romances of Austen, the Bronte Sisters et al, even Barbara Cartland's (no-beyond-bedroom door) historicals, "Angelique" became my favourite heroine: I felt I really knew her for I'd grown up with her, and never did I have illusions as to mens' desires! In some respects I think Anne & Serge Golon did me a huge favour. You could say I became street-wise from reading Angelique, and knew from an early age where flirtation might lead and, how far was too far in the firtation stakes. ;)

    Memorable characters will always be a matter of personal choice, some more universal than others all because some movie mogul or TV production company bod decided to put them on screen. We could do a whole lot of posts on fictional cads/rakes! Jilly Cooper's Rupert Campbell Black is a memorable cad and rake to boot. Do we have cads or rakes in our novels? :o

  3. Kerensa (love that name) in A Fatal Flaw isn't a bad girl. But she has some admirable traits and I think she'll prove a memorable character for your readers.

  4. Good post to think about. I love those good/bad girls too, though mine tend to just be prone to mistakes, not usually intending to do bad things.

    As far as being memorable, one good critter friend (a guy) wrote "I swear you write your female MC's to be as frustrating to me as possible." :) I guess that counts as memorable!

  5. Mysti, it certainly does! Congratulations on getting such a great reaction.

    Kerensa means "love" John. It's a Cornish name.
    Yes, I think she does have many admirable traits, I did like writing about her. I do like her sense of humour.

    Alfled is one on her own, Paula - do you think she might just be a good/bad girl in a little way?

  6. Yes, Alfled is a kind of good/bad girl - but the 'bad' is understandable as she is protecting her Saxon heritage against the hated Normans. I loved her!

  7. So did I. Alfled was my ideal historical heroine--surviving, self-respecting, capable of loving and redeeming a man with flaws.

  8. Oh my goodness how wonderful of you both to say that. Thanks, Paula and Ana.

  9. I don't know how memorable my characters are, but in several reviews, I've received praise for my 'real' characters...which is a good thing I guess!