03-19-2010 09:14 PM
I have a question.
As you read through an author's books, sometimes you will see characters who have appeared numerous times in numerous books. Sometimes these characters play minor roles which are later followed by "leading" roles in a book of their own.
Anyways, the reason I bring this up is because I sometimes notice changes in the characters from book to book. This can obviously be attributed to maturity/aging, but it sometimes throws me off. I have a friend who has read the Bridgerton series and really liked Collin's character in Anthony's book (Viscount Who Loved Me). However, when I told her how much I liked Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (it was the first Bridgerton book and Julia Quinn book that I had read), she informed me that she had really been looking forward to reading it and then felt let down. She told me that Collin's appearance in Viscount Who Loved Me had set certain expectations that were not met.
I have seen this happen when I read books out of order and go back to read the earlier books. I find that the character I had loved is different. Also, when reading a book where the character has aged, the characters can seem different (especially the men who might be presented as overly protective when looking out for a sister-in-law, for example). I still love the books that I read and understand the differences can occur "naturally" over the time that passes from book to book. Then again, I have found my awareness that a character might seem different in an earlier book stopping me from reading an earlier book.
I've noticed differences in Lisa Klyepas', Susan Elizabeth Phillips', and Julia Quinn's books. But I am a loyal reader and always find myself delighted by their books.
I was just wondering if anyone ever goes on to read a book that revolves around a previously minor character and finds the character to be different than expected.
03-20-2010 01:41 PM
I'm a subtext reader, so a lot of times, I feel like the author sewed her seeds of the character transformation in the other book. But then, sometimes not. ;-) I had one reader comment she thought Talorc had changed from Moon Awakening (where he was a secondary character) to Moon Craving (where he was the hero). I felt he'd made the transformation in the end of Moon Awakening, but apparently it was *too* subtextual for everyone to get. LOL Sometimes we think we're being so clever when in fact we're so subtle our message flies right by the reader without even hitting their radar screen. Sigh...
There *have* been a couple of heroes especially that transformed from funny and charming to dark and brooding with no justification except the author tended to write dark and brooding heroes and apparently didn't want to alter her writing style for the character. One time it bothered me so much and I was deeply disappointed by the hero that I stopped reading the author for a while. I went back to her though. She writes amazing emotion. LOL It's something I watch for as a writer, but am bound to mess up on at times because as the character is growing and changing in my head, he's not always doing it on paper for the reader to see. I really love the authors who give the backstory to the change and make it work.
Join Lucy's Fan Page: http://tiny.cc/0HRGW
03-20-2010 10:34 PM
You make an interesting point. I can see what you are saying. There are, like you said, authors who have characters change simply to meet their storyline or writing style. However, as you mentioned about your own writing and other authors, the change may be hidden in the subtext.
Now that I think of it, the characters who change from the book that introduced them to a later one (whether they were a minor character or the hero) change naturally. When the character changes from a carefree hero in one book to an overprotective head of household, perhaps the reader should expect this. The men are often alpha males who are used to being obeyed and who love fiercely, Is it really surprising that this would appear in their interactions with their extended family? If the character was a minor character, it is not surprising that they would mature. In the case where this character is related to the hero or heroine, their background is often provided.
Thank you for your response.