I don't know about you, but I love the movie Finding Nemo. My youngest daughter got the dvd as a birthday present, and she's watched it something like a million times since then (yes, I'm exaggerating...but not by much :D) Anyway, I've watched it again and again with her more times than I can count, and I'm always surprised that I'm not tired of it.
That got me to thinking. Why do I like watching Finding Nemo so much even though I could probably recite the lines from memory? The answer, for me at least, was obvious. It has some wonderful characters. All of the main characters are full of personality, quirkiness, and seem so real.
Take for instance Marlin. He's a neurotic, overprotective father who obsesses about keeping his son Nemo safe. We saw why he was like that during the first few minutes of the movie (which always makes me teary-eyed) and we can connect to that desire to protect our loved ones. No matter how grumpy or impatient Marlin is, we can relate to him because of that need.
His son, Nemo, is the one we want to protect. He has a defect and he's been sheltered by Marlin his whole life, but he longs for the freedom to be his own person. Something we all can relate to.
Then there is Dory. Oh, how I LOVE Dory! Scatter-brained, funny, and lovable, Dory drives Marlin crazy on his quest to rescue Nemo. She's also the catalyst for most of the conflict during the journey. Yet despite these flaws, she embodies the longing we have for true friendship.
As writers, we strive to create characters like these. Characters who live, have feelings, have goals, desires, and flaws. It's hard to do, but if done well, your readers will come back to your books over and over again.
So what do you think? Do you find it hard to create characters that you can care about? Who are some of your favorite characters?