Typically, favorite characters in a story are easy to spot.
They’re the brave, brilliant hero/heroine like Katniss Everdeen. They’re the snarky, sassy loud-mouth like Sheldon Cooper. They’re the sweet and adorable comedian like Bolin. Sometimes, they’re the crazy and clever villain like Jim Moriarty. Favorite characters are pretty easy to spot because they’re popular, unique, and bring something important to the overall story they find themselves in.
So when I started hearing feedback from readers regarding my book, “The Ripple Affair”, I thought I had everyone’s favorite characters figured out. I knew people would love Bernie. She’s blunt, funny, smart, and real. I also figured people would love Edward, with his emotional turmoil, and Malina, with her deceptive and clever manipulating skills.
But though I heard readers enjoyed these characters, there was one character who topped the “favorite’s list” above everyone else.
That character was Marcus Peterson.
Now don’t get me wrong. I *love* Marcus. He is one of my favorite characters because, frankly, he’s like my dream guy. He’s brave, kind, loyal, and very chivalrous. But as I was writing the story, I didn’t think readers would enjoy him that much. In “The Ripple Affair”, he’s the heroic supporting character without a flaw about him. If you’re familiar with the term “Mary Sue” (or “Gary Stu”, since Marcus is a guy), I was certain readers would put that label on him. In Book One, he’s almost too perfect. No mention of flaws, no great struggles to make him grow as a character, and certainly nothing to make you doubt his success as a knight in the royal guard. Writing a series, I know Marcus does have flaws (which will come to light in later books), but “The Ripple Affair” doesn’t reveal them.
Confused as to why such a chivalrous and perfect character would be so popular, I decided to ask some readers why Marcus was their favorite. Their answers were surprising. “He stands up for what’s right.” “He’s so chivalrous.” “He’s not afraid to speak the truth.” “He’s brave and has no problem going against the wrong.” “He tells it like it is.” “He’s so loyal.”
I grew up hearing from culture that “chivalry is dead”, but apparently it isn’t as dead as I once thought.
I learned a valuable lesson from my readers in this regard; not so much on the concept of chivalry and whether it still exists in the world or not, but that some readers still enjoy the brave and loyal hero character, flaws or not. I wrote Marcus into the story thinking I’d be the only one who liked him, but I was wrong. I’m not the only one who likes good and chivalrous heroes. Other people do, too.
I’ll admit this makes me happy as my plans for Marcus in “The Ripple Affair” series were apparently on the right track. I planned on giving him a bigger role in the story, and now that I know readers like him, it gives me that much more confidence in the stories to come. I won’t reveal much on what happens later on in the series, but I will reveal that Marcus is going to have a very big role coming up and his past will be revealed in the up and coming Book Two, “Reign of Change.”
Oh! One more thing. The Kindle version of “The Ripple Affair” has been uploaded and is available for purchase at $2.99. Right now, Amazon is in the process of linking the Kindle version and paperback version on their site, so if you type “The Ripple Affair” in the search box, you might not see it (the linking process usually takes 1-3 days.) A link to the Kindle version of the book can be found here.
Thanks and have a happy and safe Halloween, everyone!