The angst has got to stop. What better way to stop self-obsessing than to turn the page to somebody else? So, let’s take Dorothy Gale on the farm in Kansas, fresh faced and about to go a witch-killing spree. Okay, maybe two doesn’t count as a spree, but she’s a killer nonetheless.
Why has Dorothy stuck with us after all these years? What makes a character memorable? A favorite? Someone we want to be on Halloween? Do we (and I’m roping you in here whether you like it or not–forgive me if you can) love her because of herself or because she gets to go to Oz, have adventures, and wear cool shoes? The adventure itself ought not be enough to make the book loved. Character alone doesn’t drive the love either. How did L. Frank Baum find the point where the plot met the character and a passionate reader was born?
I loved Dorothy because she was fearless, straightforward, and she got to kill the bad guy, all while never once falling and twisting her ankle just so a cute, personality-free guy could scoop her up and carry her away. Dorothy was an ordinary girl from an ordinary place and at the end no secret birthright was revealed. If she could get survive a twister, save her friends, take care of herself, and speak her mind without needing princess blood in her veins, then any of us could.
Who was the first fictional character you loved? And if you’re writing a novel, do you have a character who can compare?