Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: What type of situation do you like best to either write for your main character or read about for another’s main character?
Wendy Thomas – I LOVE writing and reading about ethical quandaries – where someone may not want to do something but they simply have no choice because of ethics or a personal belief. I adore stories where the main character is rewarded for sticking to their decision. A perfect example of this is in It’s a Wonderful Life. George wants to leave town but can’t because he has to protect the town from Mr. Potter. An angel shows him what would have happened had he not made that decision and George finally accepts that he had done the right thing all along and that his decision had tremendous value.
I also like “old fashioned” family stories where family bonds are challenged and lessons are learned. One of my all-time favorite stories is The Homecoming, where John Boy, transitions from child to adult and is ultimately acknowledged and valued for his not-expected desire to be a writer.
In it’s truest essence, I love situations where the good guy wins.
Lisa J. Jackson: I like writing and reading characters that have to dig deep and do some introspection to find out what is truly important to them. I like when they are in challenging situations that require them to ask questions (mostly of themselves, sometimes of others) in order to figure out which is the best option/solution for the predicament they find themselves in (when all choices are less than ideal). I enjoy writing and reading psychological thrillers the most.
Diane MacKinnon: I struggle with writing my fictional characters into situations in which I don’t believe I’d find myself–which means I struggle with making my stories truly interesting. It’s boring for nothing bad to happen, for a character to make no real mistakes. I’ve been trying to write shorter pieces (in my journal, mostly) where I let my characters make really bad mistakes and let it play out. I think it’s helping my fiction writing (which is not my main focus right now, but I still enjoy it.) In reading, I like to read about characters who make mistakes and deal with them, although I find myself unable to suspend my disbelief at times when a character makes a poor decision. A book I really enjoyed and still think about is I Know This Much is True, by Wally Lamb.
Jamie Wallace: I love stories in which the protagonist is confronted by a truth that proves that the world is not what it seems. Since I was a little girl, I have wanted to meet a magical creature. I left notes in tree stumps for gnomes and faeries, looked for traces of unicorns in the forest, and searched for dragon eggs in the dunes along the shore. Even though I’m a grown up now, I have never lost my fascination with the possibility that there are creatures and forces at work in the world of which we are not yet aware. Because of my hunger for wonder, I love any tale that reveals the possibility of a reality that is more than what meets the eye.
From the stories of space visitors like E.T., Contact, Cocoon, and Close Encounters to stories about hidden creatures like The Water Horse and Pete’s Dragon, I love a story that feeds my hope that something awe-inspiring is out there, but we just haven’t seen it yet. Stories in which magic is at work – either subtly or overtly – also fall into this category: most of Alice Hoffman’s novels, including Practical Magic and Nightbird; David Almond’s beautiful Skellig; and Kristen Bair O’Keeffe’s The Art of Floating and Thirsty. And then, of course, there are the straight-up urban fantasy novels that blend the magical with our own world in varying degrees of reality: Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere and American Gods, Lev Grossman’s Magicians Trilogy, and almost anything by Charles de Lint.
In short, I love stories that push the reader to consider alternate realities and previously unconsidered possibilities. I love stories that remind us how much we don’t know and what a wonderful gift that is.