|She must be more than just a chambermaid.
I finally started reading When Beauty Tamed the Beast. It has been on my shelf for over a month and I just have not had time. Luckily (or unluckily) the need for dental work gave me some quiet reading time and I am loving this book. This is not a surprise as I have loved every Eloisa James book I have read. What is significant about this book is that it helped me realize what it is that draws me in to her stories.
I immediately get a sense of who all the players are. I mean ALL the players. No character is too minor to be developed. I remember their names long after the book is finished. I want to know what happens next. They are each distinctive, very real and yet larger than life. This is what I expect when I pick up an Eloisa James novel, and she has yet to let me down.
This holds true for the movies and TV shows I enjoy -- they have characters that are so much more than an archetype. The USA network promotes their shows as being character driven and, in many cases, this is true. The Closer would be just another cop show without each distinctive member of the Major Crimes team.
Am I making all of my characters real? Distinctive? Memorable? Obviously that is something that is important to me. I look for it in other books, so I should apply it in my own work. But I think I cut corners. The periphery characters are just that, fuzzy and off to the side. They exist because I will them to and serve a function, but my focus is on my main and supporting cast. Although this realization means extra work on my part, I do not begrudge it if it makes my story higher quality.
What, specifically, about your favorite books make them stand above the rest? Do you look for that in your own writing?