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One of the most consistent pieces of advice I've seen about character creation in genre fiction is this: "Your characters must want something."

I'm currently watching Mad Men on DVD with my wife, and we agree this is one of the best TV series we've come across in ages. Without being spoileritish, I think it's safe to say that the characters in Mad Men don't know what they want, and that this is the absolute force of the series. Why, if they knew, they wouldn't get into all the trouble they do.

Mad Men isn't genre fiction, and that may make all the difference. Still, the rebellious part of me always finds it interesting when I find a counterpoint to an otherwise unbreakable rule, and I'm wondering if I can somehow use that for one of my characters in the next novel.

I'd post more coherently about this if not for the virus that's been bugging me for the past couple of days, but thoughts from readers are welcome. Come the morrow I may even be able to post answers.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
j_cheney
Oct. 30th, 2011 11:07 pm (UTC)
Sadly, we gave up after one season....we just didn't like any of the characters. Glad you're enjoying it ;o)
jakobdrud
Oct. 31st, 2011 12:24 pm (UTC)
I agree that the characters aren't exactly likeable -- some of them could do with a good talking-to, to say the least. I guess I recognize some of their aimlessness, and that's what makes them sympathetic to me.
musingaloud
Nov. 1st, 2011 04:14 am (UTC)
I would LOVE for this to be true (characters don't want anything), because sometimes I have a hard time figuring that out! I mean, sometimes stuff just happens, right?

Hope you're feeling better. I sympathize, I was in bed for 2 days this weekend unable to keep even water down. Yuck. And I had a flu shot, too.
jakobdrud
Nov. 2nd, 2011 08:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm out of bed again. Hope you're up and running again too.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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