- Hidden Depths. I like characters to surprise me (not by literally acting wildly out of character) by coming out with actions that are in keeping with their personality but still show there is more to them than at first meets the eye.
- Courage. Even villains can be brave... now there's an interesting thought. (Incidentally who would you admire most - a brave villain or a devious hero? I'm torn here because I suspect the hero would be in a situation where some deviousness might be needed to survive).
- Ability to get on with others. Okay, as in life, no character is going to get along with everyone but it is a bad sign if a character can't get on with anyone.
- Reliability. I want a character to keep to their word (unless there is a phenomenally good reason for them not to but then I would expect that reason to be so clear there's no arguing with it. Would make a good plot twist I suspect). Ironically I'm not against unreliable narrators and so on (though I find them difficult to write. I actually prefer a villain who is blatant about said villainy, There is a kind of reliability about that).
- Empathy. Even villains can do this, sometimes. It's who they'd have empathy for and why that would fascinate me (and should, in my view, make a great story). Heroes/heroines of course should have huge capacity for empathy. The one exception to this rule for me is Sherlock Holmes and even there he needs John Watson to "water him down" a bit. Would Sherlock be so popular without Watson I wonder.
What do I look for in a character? My criteria are:-
I'm Allison Symes and I write novels, short stories as well as some scripts and poems. I love setting my work in my magical world, the Fairy Kingdom, and my favourite character is Eileen, who believes hypocrisy is something that happens to other people without caring that statement is hypocritical in itself! Eileen is huge fun to write for and about.