March 03, 2008
Characters - Part 2: The Kobe Bryant Syndrome
Everyone has his or her own definition of a great character, and I’m willing to bet that the things we love or hate in fictional people aren’t a whole lot different from the things we love and hate about our friends, co-workers, and associates. Not everyone is going to appreciate the same character.
This represents what I call “The Kobe Bryant Syndrome.” Let me first apologize to all of those who don’t like basketball (or sports in general). Bear with me just for one minute. Ask someone who’s passionate about basketball what they think of Kobe Bryant, and with a few exceptions you’re going to hear one of two responses:
“Best player in basketball, maybe the best ever. Great work effort, fierce competitor, he’s the guy I want on my team. Championship caliber.”
“Selfish. Not team player. Arrogant. Sure, he can score a billion points, but scoring a billion points doesn’t win championships. I wouldn’t want him on my team. I’ll take a team player, like LeBron.”
We all have things we appreciate about characters and things that we don’t. I don’t know why, but I’m sure it has something to do with Freud and our self-esteem and whatever else. Ultimately, at the end of the day, we weigh the good and bad and make our decision. Like? Love? Hate? Indifferent?
What traits do you like in a character? What traits or behaviors make you cringe? What examples from the stories you write, read, or watch could you share with us?