Prickly Characters

Confession time. When I first found M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth mysteries, I was ecstatic. I immediately fell in love with a detective who had no ambition, who didn’t want to rise in the ranks and to be forced to leave his little community. Then I learned that M.C. Beaton wrote a second series with Agatha Raisin. So I bought one…and didn’t finish it. Agatha drove me NUTS. I bought a second one, thinking that the first book in a series isn’t always the best to judge an author on, and I didn’t finish the second one either. Agatha was rude, and rudeness bothers me. Huge numbers of fans disagreed with me, but I never picked up another book. But then, I found Agatha Raisin on BritBox, and for some reason, when I watched the TV show, I liked it. Yes, Agatha could still be pushy and abrasive, but somehow, her good qualities overrode her bad ones. And the characters in the show were quirky. I like quirky.

When I started writing A CUT ABOVE, I wanted Karnie and the new series to feel different than Jazzi and her series. Jazzi is pretty go-with-the-flow. She likes people and is accommodating. Karnie likes people, too, but she’s NOT accommodating. She’s fine living by herself and staying single for the rest of her life. And she pretty much says what she thinks. No filter.

I don’t think she’s as pushy as Agatha, but she is stubborn. I like characters who aren’t always likeable. One of my favorite characters I’ve read is Jorg, in the PRINCE OF THORNS. Jorg does terrible things. He’s not a nice person, but then, no one else in that time setting is nice either. It becomes a question of whose moral code I liked better–and Jorg’s seemed the best to me; whereas his father’s was despicable. Power hungry rulers stoop to horrible deeds to hang on to their power or gain more. Even the ordinary people Jorg meets are reprehensible, including the peasants.

Karnie is no Jorg. Not even as rude as Agatha. But she’s no Jazzi either. She’s just prickly and opinionated. But she’s loyal, and if she likes you, she’ll go the extra mile to help you. I don’t know if I’d consider her more flawed than most characters I write, because opinionated or not, I really like her.

Do you have any prickly, flawed characters you love? I’d love to hear about them. And happy reading!

5 thoughts on “Prickly Characters

  1. I like them, too. Dr. House from television is an old favorite. I’d describe many of my characters as blunt, but they don’t quite reach prickly. I like opinionated characters. It’s great when they’re right, but it’s also easier to make them wrong and get a good character arc from it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My first MC was what I would consider prickly. Caleb DeCardian in Weathering Rock really had no filter. He said what he thought and expected others to fall in line with his way of thinking. Although there are a number of things about that book I would change today, I think he’s still my favorite of all the characters I’ve created.

    From books I’ve read I’d say Preston & Child’s FBI agent, Aloysius Pendergast can be prickly, and Gerald Tarrant in the Cold Fire Triology by C. S. Friedman was definitely NOT an accommodating character.

    Flawed often wins me over. On TV, I loved Mr. Gold in Once Upon a Time 🙂

    Fun post, Judy!

    Liked by 1 person

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