The importance of character to novels


I’ve just been wondering about the centrality of emotion to Nalini Singh’s psy-changeling novels… and about the rules of genre fiction… and the expectations of character… and all that. Kind of on the topic, in a roundabout way is what Jean Saunders writes about the importance of character and dramatic resolution:

Every novel involves characters. Without characters you have no story. …what [the] reader finally wants to know is how your sleazy detective turned out to be a hero in disguise. How the heroine with everything to lose got her man. How such fantastically ludicrous character-led plots could become as addictve to readers as Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels.

So, disregarding for a moment the fact that you have to have characters to people your novels, the first essential is plot. The second is comeuppance. Think about it.

Every novel you ever read has that sweet satisfaction of good triumphing over evil, or the baddie getting his just deserts, or some clever twist proving the central character’s worht. Even those dreary kitchen-sink dramas have some element of hope and resolution beyond the final pages.” (p.7)

From there to Singh… emotion is something that is problematised quite deliberately in her psy-changeling novels… with what effect? to what end? How does her work sit inside the whole concept of the novel – and more specifically paranormal romance? How do her characters make sense of the whole concept of emotion? And in what ways do the generic conventions of ‘romance’, to which her novels adhere, support/undermine the concept of emotion within her story world? I’m kind of just thinking out loud right now…

Ref: Jean Saunders (2009) Successful Novel Plotting. Accent Press: Bedlinog, Mid-Glamorgan


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s