Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?For me it's simple. It's all about the characters. Sure I love an author who has a way with words. But when it comes down to it, a book can have beautiful language but if it leaves you feeling cold...then what has it really accomplished? The characters have to be real to me. They have to be human. They have to be flawed. They have to be complex. Fleshed out. One way that *shows* this is how characters are shown to interact with one another. Also--and this is big--intentions and motivations--the behind-the-scenes hows and whys--are important in character development. Good authors know that characters--even the good guys--need to have a few flaws in order to be likeable. No one wants to read about a perfect person with a perfect life going about in a perfectly ordinary way. There's got to be substance and heart and soul. Heart and soul--the stuff of life--isn't found in plot devices, plot twists, or beautiful or aching language. For me it's all about the characters. Everything else must come second. I'm not saying it's not nice, it's not important. But it's not as important.
For me, no one does it better than Orson Scott Card. Nobody.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews