darklyndsea: squitten (Default)
darklyndsea ([personal profile] darklyndsea) wrote2010-04-02 06:45 pm
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I've noticed a pattern in the characters I like (with a few outliers): I like characters who are smart, sarcastic, and keep others at a distance.  I like characters who don't have all three characteristics; a few I like don't have any of them (or at least they don't in my headspace).  But those are the main three characteristics that make me like characters.

But the thing is, the characters I like are written out of character a lot.  I assume the writers see their behavior as a flaw to be fixed, because at least some of the time everything else about the fic's good.  I can buy a "becoming more warm and fuzzy" plot, but only if it's part of an epic, or because of some trauma.  If the story's not very long, and the character starts out acting nicer than they do in canon, I don't like it.  If I wanted to read characters like that, I'd be searching for fic with different characters.  I like House and McKay and Snape because they're not nice, and they hold all but a few at a distance, not because I want to see them cozy up to Random Character A without being forced into it.

And on a related note, I don't want to see everybody spilling their secrets.  Sure, for some characters it's in character to tell, but there aren't a lot of them.  I'll never buy the Stargate characters (except for the aliens, and even then it depends) telling people without being told to tell them by the higher-ups.  I won't buy Methos telling somebody he's known for five minutes that he's Methos and what that means.  I won't buy anybody doing one of those "this is everything that's ever happened to me" introductions, unless I get the feeling that the character thinks it's necessary (which would be...one-upmanship?  I can't think of any other reason).

Basically, the characters have established patterns of behavior, and we like or hate them because of that behavior.  If you're writing about a character, stick to their usual pattern of behavior or one that can be extrapolated from their usual pattern of behavior.  If you don't like the characters as they are, and absolutely must change them, at least include a warning that they're OOC.