***Due to the fact that Skynet possessed my computer yesterday, Top Ten Tuesday is taking place on Wacky-Woo Wednesday***
If you’re at all like me, you judge books based on how interesting the setting is, how original the plot is, and how likable (or unlikeable) the characters are. Some writers are extremely gifted in one or two of these areas; the BEST writers are gifted in all three. It takes all three of these elements to make a story, and if one of the elements is weak, then more times than not, the story is weak, too.
I like character-driven stories. I can deal with a setting I don’t particularly like, or a plot that seems a little simplistic, if the characters are memorable and capture my interest. They have to make me care. I have to be invested in the characters – in their lives, or in their deaths, in their successes, or in their failures. I like flawed characters because they seem more real to me, and I like strong characters because they are inspiring.
And they get double points when they’re awesome. Like these TOP 10 COOLEST BOOK CHARACTERS.
Say what you want about the British secret agent and his philandering ways, but when it comes to coolness factor, this dude has it times ten. He’s always in trouble with someone, be it SPECTRE, Blofeld, Goldfinger, or M, and he’s always got a plan to get out of it. Even if that means blowing up an entire city and walking away from the explosion without looking back at it…
This freewheeling lady-about-town does what she wants, when she wants, and with whomever she wants, and doesn’t care what anyone has to say about it. She is unapologetic about her motives and her material desires, and doesn’t try to hide the truth behind anything she does. She sleeps half the day, socializes half the night, and can climb out of bed and look stunning in 16.5 seconds.
As Chicago’s only wizard for hire, Dresden kind of has the market on cool – at least in the Windy City. Dresden is a complete misfit, and has quite possibly the worst luck of anyone, EVER. But that doesn’t stop him from wielding magic like a boss, and taking down some of the worst criminals out there – human and non. He bucks every system imaginable – the law, the magicians’ Council – and somehow always manages to come out on top – even when he’s dead for a while.
Hobbitses foxes are all sorts of awesome. Especially this one. He’s like a furry Danny Ocean, complete with a criminal crew. He wants to provide for his family, and is willing to risk everything to make sure they have what they need. And then, just as importantly, he makes sure those around him have what they need, too. He recognizes that the critter community is stronger if they work together, rather than separately. A valuable lesson.
Peabody puts all other book characters to shame. She’s a proper lady, but can sip sherry, run an archaeological site, raise kids, keep her husband out of trouble, and knock someone out with her parasol, all before morning tea time. She is forward-thinking and clever, brave, and a wonderful problem-solver. She has the spirit of an adventurer at a time when it wasn’t strictly fashionable for women to go gallivanting around the globe – but gallivant she does, and fearlessly.
The brilliant, borderline mad Holmes is complex, interesting, and slightly frightening. He is willing to go to unbelievable lengths to find the solution to his cases, even if it means putting himself (and, by association, Dr. Watson) in grave danger. His skill at reasoning sets him apart from other detective characters, and the fact that he is so unabashedly confident in his position as the world’s best consulting detective is an outpouring of his arrogance – something he sees as less of a character flaw, and more of a fact.
It takes undaunted courage to be the youngest in a family, and go on an adventure without your older siblings. It takes even more courage to believe something they don’t, and to stand up for that belief. Add to that running for your life, opposing a witch, going on a sea voyage, ruling as queen, and fighting a battle, and you are just scratching the surface of things Lucy does. She may not always have complete confidence in herself, but she follows her heart and does what she believes is right, and, in the end, is a heroine.
The last Gunslinger. He’s a haunting figure, and plays out the journey of the choice between good and evil. His decisions are rarely easy; often they are brutal. But he makes them anyway, often at great cost to himself. Obviously mentally scarred, he deals with loss the way he sees best – practically and coolly – but this means he doesn’t “deal”, and at times, his demons come back to haunt him. Heroic by nature, he is still flawed, and that gives him layers of complication.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words… Anne is bold. She is confident. She is brilliant. And she doesn’t allow her status as an orphan to ever make her feel like she is less than worthy. She knows what she wants, and she works ceaselessly to accomplish her goals. She dares to dream, and is willing to work to make her dreams come true, too. Brave, Anne is always up for a challenge (or a dare), up for travel, and up for a new experience, all of which provide her with fodder for her boundless imagination.
A free-thinking lady who wishes to marry for love, rather than money and security, Lizzie is an anomaly. She possesses a vitality and zest for life that allow her to see the absurdity in the social conventions of her time. She is slightly impertinent in her opinions, and does not strictly abide by “acceptable” social ideas. She does not see the “upper” class as being better than her – she knows her worth, and is unwilling to settle for anything less than she knows she deserves. Also, she has a wicked-snarky-sassy sense of humor.
So there you have it! Though there are countless other shady-cool characters in literature, these are some of my favorites. Who are some of yours? Let me know, and we can chat!
Thursday we’ll talk about something truly terrifying – a writer’s current work-in-progress… DUH- DUh-Duh…