I've always had a thing for princess's. I blame Disney for that. My heroes when I was younger? Yeah, well. I'd love to tell you I, like Einstein and many other brilliant minds, worshiped political leaders or a murdered saint or something.
After all, they didn't wear pretty dresses. My heroes totally did.
Anastasia was sarcastic and so there for, a kind of goddess. Plus, she hit Dimitri whenever he was being annoying. Of course, you know, that was before I knew all about abuse and how bad it was.
I still find it amusing.
Jasmine had a pet tiger. Really, do I need to say more?
Yes? Well, fine. She was smart, too, and she ran away from her palace because she didn't want to get married. She got to ride on a magic carpet, and she yelled at the guards. So, other than the tiger, she was still pretty cool.
Why am I rambling about Disney Princess's, you may ask?
Well, I'm rambling because they are characters that have enchanted little girls for years. What makes us like them? Is it the dresses, the jewelry and the pet tiger? Or is it the other stuff--the smart stuff, the fiesty stuff, all that?
I think it's kind of both. I mean, it's shallow, but the dresses were really attractive to little girls. The dresses and the jewelry and stuff are their accessories.
In books, you don't like characters who have no accessories. I'm not just talking about the sparkly stuff, either. I mean the sort of thing that makes them individuals. People, on some level, can be defined by what they like. You don't define them by that, but it makes them more real.
For instance, Jace from City of Bones.
steles(Knife thingys, for those of you who haven't read it.) These certainly aren't the things that make who he is, but they help round out the character.
Or what about Hermione Granger? (No, I will not tell you what she is from. If you do not know, then shame on you.)
Well, I guess the shame is void, since it's in the picture. . .
She's bookish. She's always defined by books and by good magic. If she didn't always have a book, it wouldn't matted how much you were told she loves to read. It just wouldn't be the same.
It doesn't have to even be material goods, but I think the material things do help flesh out a character.
It isn't even the immortal battle of showing versus telling in writing. It's just making a character seem real. You can use little things, quirks or weird addictions, to make it happen. A hobby even. In Beastly, by Alex Flinn, the main character likes to garden.
That makes it so much easier to find him human. The accessory is enough to make him real, and turning paper to human beings is amazing.
It's also really difficult. In my opinion, one of the hardest things about writing is making a character real. Yes, I am kind of stuck on this lately. It doesn't matter how well you write, though, if people can't see the character. It doesn't even matter if they love them. It just matters that your character comes to life on the page, breathing and reading and kicking demons back into their dimensions.
I loved Disney princesses because they seemed real. They weren't fluffy, candied girls; they seemed like actual people. Belle had her books. Anastasia had a desire to find her family. Jasmine had her tiger and her curiosity. You could actually see it in them. To make real characters, I think you have to write human (of fayrie/elves/vampires/ect) qualities into the people.
Of course, easier said than done.
However, as many a stylist has said . . .
Thank god for accesories.