One of my favorite characters created by another writer is Talyn, from the novel of the same name by Holly Lisle. I could give you a thousand reasons (and will, if you encourage me) why I am so fascinated by this character. I learn something new about Talyn, from her or through her every time I read the book. The best characters do that.
Some writers compare memorable characters to great artworks, and in a way they are like a magnificent portrait that you see a little differently each time you study it. But painting is motionless, offering only a single moment captured on canvas, like a gorgeous butterfly trapped in amber you can only see from a few angles. Fiction defies frames and spotlights, refuses to be frozen in time and, when it's done right, pours countless images of its characters inside your head.
Who are some of your favorite fictional characters? Answer that question in the comments to this post by midnight EST on Thursday, 2/23/06. I'll draw four names from all those who participate and e-mail the winners a copy of Holly Lisle's ebook*, Create a Character Clinic. Winners will be announced here by noon EST on Friday, 2/24/06. Giveaway open to everyone on the planet, even if you've won something at PBW in the past.
*Fine print: this is an e-book, not a print book, in .pdf format, for which you'll need the Adobe Reader, which you can download here.