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Author Topic: What makes you care about fictional characters?  (Read 2039 times)

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Offline marcopablo

Re: What makes you care about fictional characters?
« Reply #25 on: September 23, 2014, 10:32:48 PM »
I think a good character is some one that gets you to at least think about going to "the dark side". 

Offline Kaezel

Re: What makes you care about fictional characters?
« Reply #26 on: September 25, 2014, 03:38:26 PM »
Quite a loaded question really. The obvious part is that a character is well-written, but what makes a character well-written?
The answer I can think of is when a character can make me feel something, I'll manage to care for him or her. I can read a whole book and follow a protaganist through loads of struggles and eventually put the book down and conclude that in the end I didn't care at all for the character. Sometimes I only manage to care for the character at the climax of the events or until something profound happens. Sometimes I even manage to care for a character that only utters about one sentence because it's meaningful and profound. It's often something that reminds me that the characters are definitly humanoid and I can relate to their feelings. Something that just makes me realise that this fiction comes extremely close to feeling -real-. Which is a difficult thing to accomplish, because often in the back of your mind you realise that whatever you're reading, watching or playing, is still a work of fiction.

Offline TheFallaciousOne

Re: What makes you care about fictional characters?
« Reply #27 on: September 25, 2014, 04:37:14 PM »
There's a fine line, I think, between a well-written character and a good character. A well-written character might be three-dimensional, act believably within the confines of the narrative, have compelling motivations, and even come complete with their own set of flaws and unfulfilled desires. But I think what separates such characters from truly memorable "good" characters is less-quantifiable. They carry a certain je nais se pas(sp?). Not only do you understand them, empathize with them, and possibly come to revere/loathe them personally? You possibly forget for a moment that their naught but scratchings on a piece of paper.

And good example of a good, but not necessarily well-written, character--I think--would be the main protagonist in '1984'. He's believable, flawed, and legitimately makes the reader feel for him throughout the majority of the book. You can feel the helplessness and anguish he emanates from the first paragrash, to the sense of resignation and acceptance to the very last. Within the Ministry of Love, as he endures unspeakable torture at the hands of a gleefully self-styled hypocritical madman, you can almost see his torment unfold, watch the flesh slough off of him as he survives for days on end without food, water, or even the ability to move. The hiccup comes in the second act, when he forsakes every mantra and creed he'd ever adopted, to take up a covert tryst with a young woman. It's forgivable in that the story would have ground to a halt had he not not experienced some catharsis or another. But all the same, His personage does a total double-take as he goes from a subtle-yet-docile thoughtcriminal, to something akin to a giddy and reckless schoolboy. Especially after Orwell goes to great lengths to hammer in that absolutely nothing is sacred, nowhere is safe, and nobody is trustworthy.

Conversely, a prime example of what I think is a good, but maybe not well-written, character would be the protagonist in 'Bioshock: Infinite'. I can hear the cries of perplexity and anger, now: how can a character who's entire self of self is reactionary be a good character? I say again: Booker DeWitt has a special something-or-other that separates him from the pack. He's flawed, almost abhorrently-so. He has a driving goal, that he pushes onwards to within the capacity of his ability and the environment he finds himself within. Within the narrative he's believable and sympathetic. But what pulls him above all that is, well, hard to put into words. I can only say that his character was the main reason I, after completing the game, turned off the console and sat in the dark as I ruminated the journey I just undertook. It's that sort of I-don't-know-what, I think, that pulls the wheat of a good character from the chaff of a simply well-written one.

Offline Amazee

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Re: What makes you care about fictional characters?
« Reply #28 on: September 30, 2014, 07:30:26 PM »
To me, what makes me care is knowing about their backstory and their struggles, so quite a few times I would like to talk to people about their characters and what experiences that they had prior to the roleplay before we start and what their reactions would be to certain instances.

Offline Sassenach91

Re: What makes you care about fictional characters?
« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2014, 09:30:05 PM »
For me, I connect to characters who are fleshed out and have a range of emotions. Characters who are flawed but still endearing. For example, in Outlander (spoilers ahead and a novel series which is often and wrongly viewed as a bodice ripper romance novel) the main male protagonist Jamie Fraser is a man who is quite interesting and flawed. He's a virgin in the beginning but there isn't a shred of innocence to him except when it comes to sex. He's killed people, fought to survive, been tortured and yet he still tries to be optimistic about his life as an outlaw and even suffers rape at the hands of a sadistic male officer near the end of the book. He can be fierce and demanding and intimidating but he also is loyal, strong of mind, and protective of those who cares about. This complexity and the ways with all the shit life throws at him, makes him my favorite male character of all time. And even the main character Claire has her flaws. Flaws make them human and if they seem human, it's easier for me to empathsize with them. I get angry when they do something wrong or stupid, and cry when they suffer loss or pain. I've had eight books to fall in love with Jamie and Claire and know their ends and outs and they aren't perfect, they are human. To me, that's what endears me to them.

Offline Golden Ink

Re: What makes you care about fictional characters?
« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2014, 10:42:54 AM »
The scene.

Offline wander

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Re: What makes you care about fictional characters?
« Reply #31 on: October 05, 2014, 05:27:55 PM »
Simply for me it is seeing an element of myself in a character. Its an element of projection, but I find when a character has a struggle or a flaw you yourself share in, you root for them more just as there's the familiarity in feeling there. Thats what I think anyway.

Offline Stiletto

Re: What makes you care about fictional characters?
« Reply #32 on: December 20, 2014, 07:00:51 AM »
When I am able to sympathize with the character's situation on some level. If I can't, then I simply don't care about that character one way or the other.

Offline Lrrr

Re: What makes you care about fictional characters?
« Reply #33 on: December 21, 2014, 10:28:23 PM »
After all the discussion I'm probably more confused about the original question than I was when I started reading the thread.  I really enjoy John Wayne westerns, even as formulaic as the stories are and as infallible as his character often is.  Yet there I am, in the last scene, silently rooting for him to do in all the bad guys in a world where black is black and white is white.

I think the answer to the original question is a lot more complex than any single motivation for caring about the character.  I think there are an infinite number of reasons why you might, or might not, care about a particular fictional character.  A "poorly written" (whatever that means) adolescent character going through the implosion of his/her family will probably make me care about them despite the lack of writing skill because I've had that experience.  I might hate them or love them or have a million other reactions to them - but aren't all those things just different facets of caring about them?

One final question.  What makes you care about the non-fictional people around you?  Maybe the same things that make you care about a fictional character?  :)
« Last Edit: December 22, 2014, 02:05:29 PM by Lrrr »

Offline Sabby

Re: What makes you care about fictional characters?
« Reply #34 on: January 05, 2015, 01:19:48 PM »
Moments of weakness. I can't stand the moping and whining that comes with defining a character by their struggle, and I equally detest flawless characters with no problems. I like it when they display a genuine emotion, then stow it away and move on, but that doesn't mean they're okay.

I bought a Spawn comic thinking it would just be dumb 90's bullshit, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that Spawn was pretty damn sympathetic, but not weak or melodramatic. I wasn't expecting to like this character so much.

Offline Purple Dusk

Re: What makes you care about fictional characters?
« Reply #35 on: January 14, 2015, 05:11:06 AM »
Realism mainly, and occasional quirks so that they don't appear 2-dimensional.  I'm not against characters who seem flawless, so long as I get to see them in their private moments of weakness.  Also, characters who have empathy for others is a big one (whether their heroic or villainous) - as long as their not completely heedless of the fact that other people are alive and have feelings.