Boring, boring and boring. That’s what I imagine people saying when they talk about my main character. Heck it’s what I currently think, although I’m in the throes of changing him from predictable to unpredictable. But what does that mean? According to Donald Maass, one of the reasons we love characters in books or movies is because they say or do things we wish we could.
When I first read that, I thought of that scene in the movie, “Fried Green Tomatoes”, when Evelyn Couch (Kathi Bates) rams the shiny little red Volkswagon bug that stole her parking spot. If you recall, the girls tell the timid Evelyn “Face it lady, we’re younger and faster”. Then they link arms and giggle as they walk into the store. Instead of finding another spot, Evelyn, rams the bug several times with her big Cadillac and when the girls come running back screaming and cussing, she says, “Face it girls, I’m older and I have more insurance.” And then she drives off.
I L-O-V-E it.
Why? Because I’d never do it, most people wouldn’t. It’s unexpected and it’s even more unexpected because Evelyn is timid and accepting of the horrible treatment she receives from her husband. What the viewer anticipates is that Evelyn will find another spot or worse flip the girls off. But it is unanticipated extreme behavior that makes you want to stand up and cheer for Evelyn.
I’m hoping that when I’m done with the rewrites that my protagonist surprises the reader, that he does things and says things, that while inappropriate, makes you want to stand up and cheer for him.
How do you want your readers to view your main character?