Why do our characters do what they do? What is it that makes me, the reader, care about these characters? What encourages me to finish reading the story? Passion. The characters in a great story have passion, passion that drives them to make the choices that they do, and make me–the reader–care about the character’s success or failure.
What motivates our characters? If the writer isn’t sure, chances are good that the story isn’t going to hold together–and it certainly isn’t going to interest the reader. A character can be sweet, funny, kind, and completely boring. A character can be sassy, snarky, witty, and pointless. I argue that the key factor in making a character truly interesting is whether or not the character has passion; what is it that puts the fire in the character’s eyes? Let’s take a look at some of my favorite characters.
J.D. Robb’s Eve Dallas: She’s passionate about Roarke, her friends, but above all, justice. She is willing to live on little more than caffeine in order to find justice for the victims of the homicides she investigates. As she evolves throughout the series, her black and white sense of right and wrong grows to encompass more gray, but her passion never wains. If I ever needed a homicide detective, Eve’s the one I would want!
Lucy Burdette’s Hayley Snow: She’s passionate about family, including her friends as part of her extended family. While she loves writing and food and living in Key West, she gets herself in all sorts of tough situations because she is so passionate about her family. Who wouldn’t treasure a friend who is so protective, supportive, and caring?
Casey Hill’s Reilly Steel: She’s passionate about the science. As a forensic scientist, Reilly’s never met a puzzle she couldn’t solve, and she’s determined to use science to her advantage. New techniques along with tried and true, Reilly is successful–and lovable–because of that passion.
Who are some of your favorite characters, and what are they passionate about?