More on the Mary-Sue and the Marty-Stu and How Not to Create One

If an author is fretting about having created a Mary-Sue or Marty-Stu, then the chances are probably that she or he hasn’t. The attitude of a writer who has created a Mary-Sue is generally one of uncritical indulgence, like a bad parent. That type of unreflective writer can’t see why anyone could fail to admire his/her marvellous character. After all, s/he’s been given any number of outstanding traits, hasn’t s/he?  She or he has been given all sorts of opportunities to glow (but has s/he been given any opportunities to grow?).

Cardboard Characters, Lovable, Rounded Characters, Larger Than Life Characters,and Mere Ciphers: How Sympathetic Must a Character Be to Keep You Reading?

In my last post, I was talking about my new fledged writer friend being upset at the savagery of a one star review (though she felt a bit better when I showed some of the fine specimens I have come by). Readers of this blog might remember that the main criticism was that her book … Continue reading Cardboard Characters, Lovable, Rounded Characters, Larger Than Life Characters,and Mere Ciphers: How Sympathetic Must a Character Be to Keep You Reading?

Characters in Classic Novels with Personality Disorders

Laughs are at a premium these days, what with the pandemic still going on as a second Christmas approaches.That being so, I thought I’d use my recent renewed interest in personality disorders by subjecting some classic characters in fiction to a bit of the dreaded lay analysis.If this post gives a few readers a laugh, … Continue reading Characters in Classic Novels with Personality Disorders

What Makes a Reader Empathise with a Lead Character is Often an Indefinable Combination of Things

Re-reading my favourite novel by Margaret Atwood, ‘Bodily Harm’, made me wonder, as I have done before, whether or not you have to identify strongly with the lead character to be really drawn in by a novel.I like the main character, Renny Wilford, well enough – I like her courage, and her detached, cool humour. … Continue reading What Makes a Reader Empathise with a Lead Character is Often an Indefinable Combination of Things

Drama and Melodrama in Some Classic Victorian Novels

      When writing tales of terror, it can be difficult to keep balanced along the thin line between the terrifying and the ludicrous – as I have commented in a previous post ‘The Thin Line Between the Gothic and the Absurd’.     It is nearly as difficult at times to maintain that balance between drama and … Continue reading Drama and Melodrama in Some Classic Victorian Novels

Some Thoughts on the Careers of Agnes Grey and Becky Sharp as Early Nineteenth Century Governesses

  In my last post, I wrote about the realistic – and fairly dismal – depiction of a governess’ life in the England of the first part of the nineteenth century to be found in Anne Bronte’s ‘Agnes Grey’ , and contrasted her dismal life with the wild and harrowing adventures that are Jane Eyre’s … Continue reading Some Thoughts on the Careers of Agnes Grey and Becky Sharp as Early Nineteenth Century Governesses

Review of ‘The Time Machine’ by H G Wells: the First Time Travel Novel

I first read HG Well’s ‘The Time Machine’  in my early twenties, more years ago than I care to admit. My impression of it then was that it was an intriguing but dated curiosity. Recently, reading a review of a Goodreads friend of mine, who was dismayed by the relationship between ‘The Time Traveller’ and … Continue reading Review of ‘The Time Machine’ by H G Wells: the First Time Travel Novel

Plasticity,Recycled Characters and Beloved Brothers: Part One: Elizabeth Gaskell

In an earlier post, I discussed how Elizabeth Gaskell used a particular character type - suely largely based on her lost and beloved brother - the charming, brave, dashing and handsome sailor, three times, in slightly different variations. She used this character type possibly four times, if I count the returned sailor 'Poor Peter' in  … Continue reading Plasticity,Recycled Characters and Beloved Brothers: Part One: Elizabeth Gaskell