What kind of protagonists do you enjoy reading about?
I'm waffling like a vacillating creme puff about using a male or female lead in my novel, and I'd like some opinions on the topic. Really, it doesn't matter to me -- the differences, I think, aren't all that huge, unless you're going for a stereotypical "girlie girl" or some butch guy... and that's not my style.
Still, I'd like to know what you prefer, what you dislike about certain characters, what holds your interest, what kind of conflicts you like to read about (personality clashes, family issues, etc.), what kinds of things you think have been done to death, and really anything else you'd like to say on the topic.
I prefer dark, shady characters. Protagonists with a streak fo evil. Enigmatic and unpredictable
I have to agree with liking the dark side
I also like characters who don;t mind surprising me, I like a good shook in a story.
It would be very hard to write, unless you'd been thee yourself, but I've always wanted to read a book form the point of view of a multiple personality serial killer as the main (only) character. You could have 4 or 5 different people within the one character, basically making him/her the whole book.
Imagine the arguments!!
It does depend a bit on what kind of book you're thinking of writing, but I have a pretty much universal intelligence/competence kink. I love characters who are really smart or really good at something getting the chance to be really smart or good at something. That doesn't necessarily mean infallible - smart people are as prone to making mistakes as everyone else - but one thing that drives me absolutely bonkers is characters doing stupid things for no reason except the convenience of the author. It's not that hard to build a tendency towards overconfidence, or an emotional weakness, or some legitimate reason for temporary stupidity into a character's profile - failing to do so is just lazy writing.
Unlike some of the others, my favorite characters do tend to be essentially good, but definitely flawed. Lizzie Bennet, from Pride and Prejudice is a good example, and probably my single favorite literary character ever. Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird is another.
However, I do sometimes relish a certain degree of Machiavellianism or amoralism as well. Erik, from Phantom of the Opera, is another favorite and he was a straight up sociopath. The Song of Ice and Fire series is also full of characters I love despite the fact that pretty much every single one of them has done something completely detestable at least once. Case in point, one of the most likable characters in the series is a man whose first major action in the books was throwing a 7 year old boy out a several story window, paralyzing him for life. When dealing with sociopathic characters, the important thing is to make them not angst about being sociopaths. All these vegetarian vampires drive me crazy. They're so much more fun when they're running around happily ripping out throats.
I agree, I like my protagonists to be just slightly antagonistic. I think it makes them more human. Then again, that kind of depends on the story...if you're writing about say some kind of crazy gang/mob war, then the protagonist is indeed a truely detestable human being, which I suppose means that you'd better make even the most virginal reader like him/her. As far as gender, I do tend to prefer a male lead, although I don't know why.
I love when teh story is about a a girl and how her looks are dicieving to a guy around her, or protraying a girl that is stronger than a guy and proving she is just as good or better!
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