Wednesday, February 22, 2006

CCC Giveaway

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.


  1. Anonymous1:00 AM

    Zaphood Beeblebrox - He's a moronic genius with the good luck of the entire universe behind him.

    Nitta Sayuri - No matter what happened, what anyone else said, or regardless of what she was made to be... she went after what she wanted, and got it.

    Molly Bolt - She looked the world in the eye and said "I am myself, and if you don't like it, go to hell" with a graceful shrug.

    Odd Thomas - For his ability to view the world under a bright light, yet never able to be in the light itself

  2. Anonymous1:09 AM

    Umm this is an interesting question:

    1)Martin Bauman. I didn't want to leave him at the end of the novel.

    2) Henry and Clare from The Timetravel's Wife. So many stories left unsaid.

    3) Granny Weatherwax (from the Discworld). A complex and never boring character.

    4)Dolores Claiborne- I never tire of re-reading her story.

    5)Rev. Merrily Watson. A female deliverence minister by Phil Rickman. She just needs a hug.

    Thanks for the question. I'm sure there is more.


  3. Anonymous1:30 AM

    Philip Marlowe, a displaced knight who gets the armor picked off of him, bit by tender bit, in each successive novel.

    Arkady Renko, always scraping the bottom of the barrel, and always managing to dive lower still.

    George Smiley, for his contrasts: cold yet sensitive, brilliant yet blind.

    Sam Vimes, because he's so damned good at his job.

    Sam Spade. What a bastard!

  4. Anonymous3:50 AM

    Stephanie Plum! ON of my all time faves because she just won't quit...and she makes my life look good. :)

    Dan Calebow from It Had To Be You Cuz he was a man's man. A bit of dick...but a true hero.

  5. Anonymous4:27 AM

    Ender Wiggin is a deep character. He commited xenocide, then saw to it that the species he nearly exterminated rose again.

    Also Sarah Dearly, of Bitten and Smitten. She's funny, bright, and sarcastic.

  6. John Carter of Mars: chivalry incarnate in an exotic but dangerous world. Somehow ERB makes that chivalry pay off, but without cheat as per, e.g., Star Trek.

  7. Anonymous7:00 AM

    Oooh, tough one. So often we love the books, and never realize that it's the character itself that makes the book special.

    Here's my list:

    Arya, from George R.R. Martin's A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE series.

    Jo from the Weather Wardens by Rachel Caine

    Betsy Taylor from UNDEAD AND UNWED.

    Both characters from A KINGDOM OF DREAMS.

  8. Anonymous7:01 AM

    Not complex characters at all, but memorable ones nonetheless:

    Granny Weatherwax. What a laugh.

    Grandma and Lula in the Stephanie Plum novels. Those two are funny, larger than life characters.

    Elvis Cole in the Crais novels, and Reacher in the Child novels. We learn more about them with each book.

    Marcus Didius Falco in the Lindsey Davis novels.

  9. Anonymous7:03 AM

    I take it that by "fictional" you're talking "as written about in books", right?

    Hm, let me think -

    Talia, as created by Mercedes Lackey for the Arrows of the Queen series. She's not tough, her Gift is not something that she masters instantly, in fact, she spends a whole novel fighting with it, she's compassionate and comes through sticky, horrible situations without having to resort to violence.

    Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte, because even in a time when freedom of choice is something completely unattainable for women she yearns for it so much that she rather takes on incredible hardship than succumb to the place that was cut out for her by society.

    Andrea Flores of the Tenebrea Trilogy by Roxann Dawson and Daniel Graham. She's an unwieldy character, the way she deals with the loss of her husband and daughter is not pretty, she doesn't immediately take to the new opportunities that are presented to her but rather fights with them. Nothing comes easy to her and still she takes it on, one step at a time.

  10. Anonymous7:59 AM

    1. Ender Wiggin from Orson Scott Card's Ender series (especially in Speaker for the Dead). He bears the weight of xenocide and watching his legacy turn from hero to monster, and he's just looking to set things right as best he can.

    2. Hermione Granger from J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. She's the daughter of muggle dentists, but she's the smartest witch you'll ever meet.

    3. Joe Kavalier from Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. He's the ultimate tortured artist, torn between the guilt of leaving his family in WWII-era Poland and his love for his new life in America.

    Perhaps this tells me that I mostly love characters from series or longer books. Or maybe that it's too early in the morning and these were all I could think of.

  11. Anonymous8:17 AM

    Jaime Lannister from George RR Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series.

    Severus Snape from JK Rowling's Harry Potter series.

    Kiriel and Auralis from Michelle West's Sun Sword series.

    ...that's an awful lot of series, isn't it?

  12. Anonymous8:48 AM

    1. Jean Valjean from Les Miserables: The man is presented with one of the worst series of hardships a person can get, and he manages to continuously survive - his personal heart still intact. The end of the book broke my heart. *~*

    2. Alberich from Exile's Honor and Exile's Valor: Another character that is abused mercilessly by circumstance, yet still manages to hold true to his core. Also, one of the best military characters I've read (in fantasy).

    3. Liadan from Son of the Shadows: She is one of the strongest female characters I've read; she knows exactly what she wants to do, and she doesn't let anything stand in front of her. She's a tiny little thing, and she can move mountains.

  13. Anonymous9:11 AM

    Favorite characters in no particular order:

    The Endless, from the Sandman series. Each one immortal syblings, and yet so uniquely different from one another.

    Anita Blake, from said series. She's tough, mostly human, and always in over her head.

    Octavia Butler's alien characters (I know, this is cheating). But pretty much all of them are so uniquely non-human, and yet she manages to write from their POV so smoothly.

  14. Anonymous9:46 AM

    Lauren Olamina from Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower is my all-time favorite fictional character. I can read that book over and over and not get tired of it.

    Anita Blake is another good one. She is smart and funny and kicks a lot of ass.

  15. I could list a ton of characters from Harry Potter as well. Ron, Hermione, Severus and even Pevees (I hope I spelled that last one right, I don't feel like getting up and checking.)

    I also am fond of Meggie from Inkheart. I love her brave spirit and cleverness.

    Peter Pan is one of my favorites too. Mr. Darling ditto on him in the book as well.

    Hehe, my favorites often comes from children's books.

  16. My favourite characters are:
    a)Sioned and Rohan from Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince series.
    b)Eve Dallas and Roarke from J.D. Robb.
    c)Fizt from Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy.
    d)Jessie McQuade from Lori Handeland.
    There are loads more, can't name them all...

  17. Favourite fictional characters, in no particular order:
    Lord Peter Wimsey
    Faramir from Lord of the Rings
    Hazel from Watership Down
    Elizabeth Bennett
    Jo March

  18. I always liked Mary from Francis Hodges Burnett’s "The Secret Garden." I love how she grows from being bitter and awkward into being sensitive and curious.

    I also love the Great Whangdoodle from Julie Edward’s “The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodle.” This might have to do with the silly voice that was used when it was first read to me!

    I definitely identified with Holden Caulfield in JD Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye,” and Esther Greenwood in Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar.” Bartleby will always be a favorite of mine.

    Shylock from Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice” is definitely memorable, and who doesn’t love Hamlet from “Hamlet”?

    And having read Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander before the movie hit the screen, I really do have fun with Captain Jack Aubrey, and Dr. Stephen Maturin.

    Ok, and, I know these aren’t story book characters, but I love Commander Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation, and The Doctor, from Star Trek: Voyager!

    I should really stop... what a fun question!!!

  19. ooo, I'm sorry, but I left off Anne from the Anne of Green Gables series...! OK, I'll really stop now!

  20. Gustad Noble from Rohinton Mistry's Such a Long Journey: charming, self-effacing, get-things-done type of guy - he's the most realistic "everyman" character I have ever met. There's nothing at all that's heroic about him, except that he is a hero when he needs to be. His sense of humour is the type I get best, and the way he changes as a result of his experiences in the book is to me a lesson in humility and respect.

    And then there's Scarlett O'Hara of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind, easily the most engaging character I've ever read about. Every time I read parts of this book, it makes me want to go out there and LIVE. :)

  21. PBW: I was just answering your question because it was such a good one. I already bought Holly's CCC, anyway, so you can exclude me from the draw. Thanks.

  22. Anonymous12:10 PM

    Horatio Hornblower because I could completely identify with his self-doubt, and had secret dreams of being so heroic.

    Lee from East of Eden because he was so wise.

  23. Anonymous12:14 PM

    Dickon from The Secret Garden, because he embodies a joy in sheer living that it hard for us non-angelic types to match.

    Harry from The Blue Sword because she was the first Girl with a Sword that I ever met in a book, and I felt myself to be awkward and "of no particular beauty" as well.

    Admiral Cross and his wife Sophie, from Persuasion, for their love.

  24. Anonymous12:14 PM

    ARGH! Croft! Admiral Croft!

  25. Some of my favourite characters include (tough to narrow down):
    1) Honor Harrington from David Weber's series. This woman just keeps going no matter the odds.
    2) Rohan from Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince series. For some reason I just 'get' him.
    3) Lerris, from L.E. Modesitt's recluce series. I can totally identify with his aimlessness and need to find his way.
    4) Anton Zilwicki and family, from David Weber's series and worked up with Eric Flint. Something about this guy, who appeared much earlier as what seemed to be a 'pathos' scene, now he's a major player in the universe. Appears to be a classic case of a minor character taking a life of his own.

    And I could go on, and on, and on...

  26. Anonymous1:08 PM

    1. Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit. My first hero. :)

    2.Sirius Black from Prisoner of Azkaban. Because he's cool.

    3. Doro from Octavia Butler's Mind of my Mind. One of the most fascinating villains I've ever run into.

  27. I already have CCC, so don't enter me, but I absolutely love Jo March and Anne of Green Gables.

    Anne ruined me for life on spelling her name. I always feel so let down when anyone spells their name A-n-n. The E just changes everything somehow.

    Anne and Jo were my first clues that maybe my weird quirks of personality could have a purpose other than making me feel isolated and freakish.

    That was great stuff for a sensitive kid stuck in a small midwestern town where 'the meaning of life' was getting drunk and fighting, getting drunk and having sex, or getting drunk and wrecking stuff.

  28. Ayla from the Jean Auel books. Elaine from Jim Winters' Kepler books. Heroines who know what they want, are willing to take risks to get it, and don't take crap from anyone yet are still feminine and vulnerable.

    Been meaning to get Talyn for awhile. After reading your rec, I'll have to look harder next time I'm at the book store!

    Fun question!

  29. Number one has to be David Weber's Honor Harrington; you'll have to read the series to find out why.

    Two: JD Robb's Eve Dallas; struggles against her own demons and still manages to kick ass.

    Three: Tess Gerritsen's Maura Isles, has it over Kay Scarpetta in so many ways.

    Four and five: JT Edson's 'Dusty' Fog and Mark Counter. Sigh, my heroes.

    There are so many more...

  30. Oh, wow. Having just finished reading Talyn last night, I'm with you there. Holly outdid herself with that book. I'm in awe. Talyn is such a complicated character, and so is Gair.

    I also love Arya from the *new* George RR Martin series. He does a good job all around of creating clear character voices for each pov characters, but you've got to love Arya. She has so much spunk for a little girl.

    Thanks for Rebel Ice, Sheila. Duncan is also a fave character for me, and he is as strong and complicated as ever.

  31. Anonymous4:50 PM

    The first ones that come to my mind are Terry Pratchett's creations:
    Vimes is great, but my favorites are

    - Death
    When he shows up, usually something funny will happen. And people's lives will be changed. Usually for the last time.

    - The Luggage
    I guess I look like a little kid that has been told it will get a great present in a few seconds when Pratchett just mentions the sound of a lot of little feet that come closer very fast.

    - Rincewind
    He's the greatest. Especially when it comes to running from things and people, which happens so often that he became an expert in it. There's also that trick he can do, someone just has to open all the windows and doors in the house and...

    I guess I'll have to reread a certain book tonight. I'll save the title for a "funniest book you ever read" question if there will be one and I didn't miss it already.

  32. I already have the book, so don't enter me.

    I just wanted to echo how amazing Talyn is. People--go read that book. It's absolutely wonderful.

    Favorite characters--how do I pick just a few when I've been reading almost 50 years?

    All of the March girls.

    Hermione Granger.

    Nancy Drew.

    Goldie Schultz, the caterer in Diane Mott Davidson's mystery series.



    Stephanie Plum.

    The Cat in the Hat.

    King Bidgood (from the Don & Audrey Wood's picture book)

    That's a good start, anyway. :)


  33. Anonymous6:56 PM

    I'm suffering from a bit of memory loss (sleep deprivation) so I'm shaky on some names.

    In no particular order:

    Harris Greene, from Doc Sidhe. Unusual character growth, and a complex character.

    Elizabeth Bennet. (I will admit, mostly from the BBC miniseries) because the snark just keeps coming.

    Norah Blackstone, from Barbara Hambly's Bride of the Rat God. Strength and depression and wit and love, all well written. I quite like Hambly's characters. The MC of Free Man of Color is also well done.

  34. Anonymous7:39 PM

    Sookie Stackhouse in Charlaine Harris' series. She's bright, believable and seems like she would be someone I would like to hang out with in real life.

    Sometimes Anita Blake in Laurell K. Hamilton's series. When I do like her, it's because she's recognizing that she needs to improve herself or when she's doing nice things for other people.

    Bastien in Lynsay Sands' vamp romance series. He was my favorite of the brothers.

    I've been reading a lot of paranormal recently so those are the only characters in my brain right now :-)

  35. Anonymous7:45 PM

    I could play this all night so I'll be brief as I can! :)

    Bigwig from Watership Down
    Jo March
    Ged from Wizard of Earthsea
    Claudius from I, Claudius
    Sam from LOTR

    OK, I better stop before I start pulling books off my shelves... LOL

    Michele L

  36. Well, great minds think alike. I've had this up as a giveaway too.

    I'll extend my deadline to Sat, so anyone who doesn't win here, can get a second chance?

    What do you think?


  37. Anonymous4:10 AM

    Two silly asses:
    Bertie Wooster from Wodehouse's Jeeves series
    Freddy from Georgette Heyer's Cotillion.

    Elvis Cole - I adore him, flaws and all

    Melrose Plant from Grimes's Inspector Jury series. Hmmm, perhaps he should be included in the Silly Ass category. :G:

    Stuart from Judith Ivory's "Untie My Heart."

    I don't know what it says about me that they're all men, but they are all also full of humor, even Elvis. Make me smile, and I'll follow you anywhere. At least on paper.

  38. Anonymous9:57 AM

    Two characters from Laura Kinsale books:

    Sheridan Drake from "Seize the Fire"

    Christian from "Flowers from the Storm"

    They are the TIMEX of characters. They take a lickin' and keep on tickin'. And yes, I probably did just really date myself as an old broad.