For the first instalment in this casual series about why I love storytelling, I want to talk about my love for meeting new characters. If this is also something you enjoy when reading books, playing video games or watching movies and TV shows, then this is a time for us to sit and think about why it is we love knowing fictional characters.
For me, there is something so refreshing about starting a new book or series and getting to know the main character. There may be one or there may be multiple. They can be someone we relate to closely or someone we feel we contend with. However, I think we can all agree that if they are written effectively, then it doesn’t matter if they are like us or not. This is only the main character I’ve mentioned here, but what about the side characters? The antagonist?
If I’ve just started reading a new book, playing a new game, or watching a new movie or TV show, one of my favourite things to do is to try and figure out who the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ guys are. It usually doesn’t take long to figure out who the protagonist is, but there is something nice about the antagonist being hard to pick. Is that just me? It adds that little bit of mystery, then later we can be hit by that feeling of utter betrayal as the protagonist finds out that someone they know is the bad guy.
Then, of course, there are the other characters. Personally, I think some of the best stories are where each character you (or I should say the protagonist) meet play some kind of role. May it be a child who enters in to provide some words of childish wisdom that will be brought to the forefront later on. Or, it could a stranger on the street that turns out to be a spy for the antagonist. Who knows? But, when a character has a moment in the sun in any story which doesn’t have any impact or relevance to it, I feel a little bit ripped off. This might be me and my curiosity regarding people, who they are and what they do, but I feel like each character should have their moment.
How about those memorable friends? The joker who brings life into a story? The usual love interest who provides some emotional scenes? I see enough people all over social media showing just as much love, if not more, to the side characters in stories. The shipping that wasn’t explored, the different perspectives or story arcs, it is all inspired by the characters that writers, directors or graphic designers bring to life.
There’s nothing worse than reading a story with characters that aren’t written effectively. They could be written to be too perfect with barely any flaws, too successful, too lucky, or too stereotypical. Unless it is written to be ironic and humorous, a character needs to be human. To be able to craft something for us to experience and connect with is a wonderful thing, and that’s why I love this aspect of storytelling.
This blog post was inspired while I was reading The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks. It is written from the perspective of multiple characters, and I have read plenty of books where there is an omniscient narrator. I think these are the kind of stories I love the most because connecting so closely with multiple characters is something I really enjoy as long as their personalities and opinions don’t blend with each other! A writer who can write from the perspective of different characters and make them to be completely unique and authentic is absolutely talented!
So yeah, that’s one reason why I love storytelling so much! Characters are so important and to connect with them, almost become friends with them, is such a wonderful experience. I’m sure we can all think of some amazing characters we have encountered in some stories who we have absolutely adored. Why do you think you loved them so much? What did they bring to the story? I’d love to know!
That’s it from me. Remember to ignite the story and I’ll see you again soon!
Charlotte is a reading and writing lover who has completed a creative writing intensive course at the University of Oxford and is a current university student studying a double degree in journalism and creative writing. If you are curious to learn more, check out the 'About' page.