Nathan Bransford, Author


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Which Fictional Characters Have Most Influenced You?

Hello! I have returned. And if you guessed that I would have 220 queries waiting for me, you would be both correct and psychic.

Needless to say, since I have about 100 non-query e-mails to attend to, query responses will be a bit delayed until further notice.

A quick You Tell Me for Wednesday, which was originally suggested by Dylan Ford, and partially inspired by The Atlasphere, which is in part an Ayn Rand fan dating site.

Fictional characters possess all of the power of real people when it comes to influencing and changing lives. So the question: what fictional characters have most affected you? Who has changed your personality, worldview, and/or ethics?






226 comments:

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Donna said...

Recently, I would have to say that Molly Bolt from Rubyfruit Jungle has influenced me. Of course, I am not going to run off to sleep with my (adoptive) cousin or female college roommate; however, her undying spirit and beating-of-odds and survival in general made me fall in love with her character-- and inspired me to not give a damn what anyone thinks. : ) Great question, by the way. Fun to think back to all the characters who inspired me over the years, but Molly is who is stuck in my mind now.

JES said...

Hard to single out just one. Atticus Finch, maybe (or Scout, for that matter). Gus McCray. And if you're willing to consider the "I" of Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance as fictional, then that guy, too.

Sarah said...

Jo March, from Little Women (I guess that makes me old school...).

Reesha said...

Laine from Lessons from a Dead Girl.

Also, I read the Narnia books over and over when I was younger so Edmund, Peter, Lucy and Susan and Reepicheep all had a part in making me who I am today. :D

Great question, Nathan!
Welcome back!

Margaret Yang said...

Ender Wiggins from Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card.

Welcome back!

Ed Pahule said...

It's a tie. Robert E. Howard's Conan and Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan. I discovered both characters as an impressionable teen and not only did their world view of never say die (I believe Tarzan actually said, "I yet live") influence me as a person to never give up, their bigger than life adventures inspired me to become a writer and create my own fictional adventures.

Bane of Anubis said...

Can't say that any character has ever influenced me long term.

Good luck w/ the backlog of queries.

RW said...

Sancho Panza

edonsi said...

THAT is an interesting question. Merriman, Bran and Will from the Dark is Rising Sequence, Turtle from The Westing Game, Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur.

Joy D. Wilson said...

I agree with Reesha with the Narnia characters as well. For me it was just Lucy though. She had such faith and hardly ever doubting what Aslan said that it helped me in my walk as well.

Laura Ingalls as well. I was never good at spelling like she was but I loved her spunk and the way she stood up for herself. It made me want to do the same.

Holly Bodger said...

Bridget Jones. Until I read her diary, I thought stones were a band, reindeer sweaters were cute and soup was supposed to be blue.

Caroline said...

Queen Mabd of the Irish epic the Tain bo Cuiligne. She has a quote that goes something like this:

"I could not marry a timid man, for I thrive myself on all kinds of trouble; and I could not marry a mean man, for I myself am so full of grace and giving. Nor could I marry a jealous man, for I've never had one man without another waiting in his shadow. So I got what I wanted- You, Ailill."

(Paraphrased because my translation of the Tain is currently packed for moving.)

I read the Tain on a study abroad in Ireland after my first year of college, and that passage blew my mind. The idea that I didn't have to settle just because the things I wanted in life were unusual was incredibly freeing.

It's probably telling that Mabd is the villain of the Tain; but I can't help but admire her sass.

Countrymouse said...

I agree-- Jo March

Casey McGill said...

I think this is more of a fictional memoir (is that even possible?) but Orwell's character in Down and Out in Paris and London makes me much more grateful for everything that I have and how I spend my money. I've started throwing it in my purse before I go shopping.

Kimber An said...

Anne of Green Gables

Anne: "Don't you ever imagine things to be differently than they are?"

Marilla (sternly): "No."

Anne (sadly): "Oh, Marilla, how much you miss!"

Jason Crawford said...

I've always been drawn to the mentor figure who imparts wisdom without which the protag would not succeed...like Gandalf or Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore...

Anonymous said...

any Mary Gaitskill character, George Miles from Dennis Cooper's series, the main character from Dancer from the Dance, Cyd Charisse from Rachel Cohn's Gingerbread series, America in E.R. Frank's eponymous YA, Joe Orton's diaries, the narrator of Capote's Answered Prayers, the narrative of the VIrgin Suicides, the narrator of Paul Golding's The Abomination .... so many!

AND

Catherine Deneuve & Mary Tyler Moore, their onscreen versions which, for my purposes, I view as characters to be read

Beth said...

Henry and Claire from "The Time Traveler's Wife."

Fawn Neun said...

@Caroline - Irish women were always like that - the first in civilized history to have property and divorce rights. Maeb isn't the villian, the Tain was just written by the other side. ;)

Anonymous said...

Leslie in Deborah Hautig's 'Second Star to the Right'. Unfortunately that was in my teens and she was my inspiration to get thin and (rather than the author's perhaps intention to show the destructiveness of anorexia) it gave me hints 'how to'
and encouraged me.

Grew out of it. Other characters have been inspirational, but none have been as obviously influential as Leslie in changing me or my actions.

Laura Martone said...

Ah, Bane, such a cynic. I'm surprised you didn't say Curious George was your favorite character... we all know how much you like mischievous monkeys (wink, wink).

As for me, I'd have to say it's a tie between Andy Dufresne and Red from Stephen King's "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" - I read the story when I was little (and it's at least part of the reason I wanted to be a writer in the first place - well, that and everything by Roald Dahl). The two of them together epitomize hope - the belief that it's never too late to turn your life around, no matter what badness you're facing at the time... talk about inspiring!

Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

HARRY POTTER.

Diana said...

Anon 10:47, I adore Mary Tyler Moore! She's smart and pretty and has a sense of humor.

When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be Kristy Thomas from the Babysitters Club series. She was smart and resourceful and held her own with the guys.

As an adult, I found I appreciated the characters who are observers, like Mildred Lathbury (sp?) in Barbara Pym's Excellent Woman and Cassandra is Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle.

My friends would probably tell you I'm following the footsteps of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum.

Brittany Hansen said...

This may sound super weird but I'd have to pick The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. The tree is so willing to just give everything it has. It reminds me of how it is to be a wife and mother. It's what I think people should aspire to.

I sound completely naive and childish, but that's okay.

Anna Claire said...

Harriet M. Welsch from Harriet the Spy. I read it in second grade, and promptly started my own spy notebooks, and spied on the neighbors. Honestly, I think it helped me become a more observant person, and a better writer. Harriet the Spy is hands-down the best children's book ever.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan Livingston Seagull made a big impact on me. I've read it many times--first when I was 10.

Coll

Lunatic said...

Strange that came from an Ayn Rand site, because John Galt is at the top of mine.

After Galt (and the rest of Rand's characters) I'd go with Count Vronsky.

Fred

Ryan said...

Early life:
Jason and Tommy from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Speed Racer from Speed Racer. Ryo and Sage from Ronin Warriors.

Now:
Drizzt Do'Urden, Aragorn, Gandalf the Grey, Jean luc Picard, Kathryn Janeway.

Now that I think about there are a lot of similarities between the first list and the second. Is this maybe a sign that some of us never grow up, or that (young or old) virtues possessed by characters for any age of entertainment never grow old.

Thermocline said...

Donald Shimoda from Illusions by Richard Bach. The reluctant Messiah made me consider the nature of reality in ways I’d never considered as a sheltered high school kid. To take Nathan’s question a step further, the fictional “Messiah’s Handbook” in Illusions is the Book Within A Book that has had the most impact on my life.

dan radke said...

I was thinking maybe Edmund Tyrone from Long Day's Journey, or Raoul Duke from The Fear, but then it hit me and there's no doubt- Hobbes.

Luisa Perkins said...

Meg Murry from Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet. Harriet the Spy. Joanna of England from Sharon Kay Penman's Here There Be Dragons. Rose Campbell from L.M. Alcott's Eight Cousins.

Ink said...

News for fantasy fans:

Apparently fantasy writer David Eddings just passed away. Sad news, but I thought that I might not be only who as a kid grew up alongside Garion...

My best, as always,
Bryan Russell

Sarah said...

Sara Crewe from A LIttle Princess.

There have been characters that influenced me in my adulthood, but the characters I met in my childhood had the most impact. I admired Sara's imagination, valor, and fearlessness.

I knew the name Sarah meant princess, but a princess always made me think of someone a bit spoiled or prissy. I didn't really change my mind until I read A Little Princess.

Always nice to like your own name....

Nona said...

"One bit of advice: fix your district, then fix your price, and then don't budge. That's how I got both Ducie Street and Oniton. I said to myself: 'I mean to be exactly here,' and I was, and Oniton's a place in a thousand."

-- Mr. Henry Wilcox
"Howard's End"
E.M. Forster

Ashley R. said...

Atticus Finch. I'm a human rights lawyer.

imagyst said...

Anita Blake from Laurell K Hamilton

Mercy Thompson from Patricia Briggs

The bit bear from The Last Bit Bear.

All around book that changed me was Practical Magic.

Mira said...

Bryan, that's sad. I'm sorry to hear that.

And another sad thing......Aw, Nathan.....

This is almost like you're not back yet.

As one of the queries waiting for you, I'd rather wait longer, and get more Nathan today.

We really do need to discuss your priorities, putting work before your blog.....

Wait. Maybe I can help. I know! I'll help you catch up. I'll help you with your queries.

Just forward all your queries to me. I'll take care of them for you. I'll give them all very special care. Special care - ust as if I had written them myself.

219 rejections, one signing contract.

Steve Fuller said...

Jesus.

R.J. Self said...

I was never much of a reader till my mom gave me the Anne of Greene Gables for my birthday when I was in the 5th grade. I spent all summer reading and re-reading those books. I still have them and I cherish them. She made it in a time when when girls meant to be seen and not heard. It was great to read about a clumsy red-headed girl like me. (I have had MANY broken bones and trips to the ER due to me being extra clumsy)

Laurel said...

Oh, Ink, that is sad news. I loved those books. I still pull them off the shelf in my room when I visit my mom and dad.

Dr. Murry (mother to Meg, Charles Wallace, and the twins) in A Wrinkle in Time. She took everything in stride and kept a house with four exceptional children and a missing father. AND she had two PhDs and cooked dinner on a bunsen burned between experiments.

Steve Brezenoff said...

I'm a little surprised to not see this name on the comments already posted: Holden Caulfield. It's no contest.

Michelle said...

Claudia Kincaid from The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. She knew she was special, even when no one else noticed. Then she got to work living it. She had enough self-confidence to decide that she should live in splendor, and enough common sense to bring along someone who made up the difference for her own faults, i.e. extravagance.

Marsha said...

Rose from Stephen King's Rose Madder. Not that I have experienced an abusive relationship but I think there is more to that story. Its about not letting fear or passivity control your life and decisions. There is a line that haunts me, "I slept within his madness for fourteen years."
Good writing sticks with you.

Lunatic said...

Too bad about Eddings. Loved the Belgariad. Kinda ticks me off that a prominet writer like that passes away and MSN.com doesn't think it deserves a mention on their front page.

Fred

BA Boucher said...

As cliche as it is now, my wife and I plan on naming our kids Holden and Scout

Bane of Anubis said...

Sad news, Bryan... definitely the best fantasy-lite author I read - really dug Sparhawk.

Ink said...

Bane,

Yeah, I liked Sparhawk. A little grittier than many of his characters. And, I must say, "fantasy-lite" cracked me up. People should put that in a query letter...

Bryan

scott g.f. bailey said...

Atticus Finch
Zooey Glass

Frank Hardy said...

1) Frank Hardy - Except that he, along with his brother, was hit on the head twice in every book, I always felt he represented everything I believed in. From Grade 6 to 10, all my teachers and friends called me Frank. 2) Perry Mason - By high school he was the one. Never did become a lawyer. But I did become a life long mystery book fan, and especially if it has courtroom drama sequences.

Wanda B. Ontheshelves said...

"Which fictional characters have most influenced you?"

Why, Mira, of course! :)

jaylake said...

Severian, from Shadow of the Torturer.

Or possibly Wakko...

Bane of Anubis said...

Wanda, didn't you see the sign:

"Don't feed the lions."

JuLo said...

I try to be as brave as Harry Potter (though much less clueless), as confident as Elizabeth Bennett, to love as deeply as Bella Swan, to be as constant as Jane Eyre, as intuitive as Ender Wiggin (Speaker for the Dead years), and as philosophical as Lee (from East of Eden).

Model1911a1 said...

Kenneth McCoy

WEB Griffin's, The Corps, Semper Fi, Book 1

Donna said...

I will also add in Nancy Drew- her go-getter attitude and constant curiosity groomed me into wanting to pursue journalism, as well as in general, I have a love for research, finding solutions, etc. and I think Ms. Drew had a big part in building my inquisitive nature and love for learning more about the world. (Plus- I even got to try my hand at being a PI on a TLC reality show a few years ago, and used my love of Nancy Drew in my audition tape!)

Scott said...

Captain Francis Crozier, made fictional by Dan Simmons in The Terror. Read it and you'll find reserves of courage, discipline and appreciation for the simple things like you've never imagined.

Maritzia said...

More than any other character, I would say Ayla from Clan of the Cave Bear. I know, I know, many consider her a Mary Jane. But in a society where there is so much pressure on women to fit into a certain way of being and acting, she is a heroine. She struggled for years to be what was expected, but when it came down to it, she would rather be completely on her own than compromise any longer with who she was inside.

For someone like myself who's always marched to a different drummer and often lived on the fringes of society, the character of Ayla was inspiring to me.

Maritzia said...

Ahhh...several have mentioned Jo March from Little Women and Anne of Green Gables.

What can I say, I have a thing about strong women.

Anonymous said...

Antonia was Willa Cather's most memorable character. I loved that character because she was based on a person Cather knew.
Being of immigrant Bohemian stock myself, I grew up around farmers and their wives of the same stock as grew from the Red Cloud area.

Mary Jo

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

I found a book that cost 2p in a sale when I was 11 and my need to read exploded - Manfred, Gonsalez and Poiccart

donnie. a said...

jay gatsby and raul duke

donnie. a said...

sorry, Raoul Duke

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Aleksander from Carol Berg
Marie McKenna from Stuart Neville
FitzChivalry from Robin Hobb
Jaime from George RR Martin
And I won't mention him by name, but one of my own characters has been teaching me a lot about life.

Marilyn Peake said...

Welcome back, Nathan!

I was profoundly moved by the characters in THE POISONWOOD BIBLE by Barbara Kingsolver, A FINE BALANCE by Rohinton Mistry, THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy, and other books that show the difference between characters who remain ethical in situations of extreme adversity vs. those who succumb to it by giving up their morality and sense of humanity.

Kristi said...

As naive as it sounds - Nancy Drew. I read the entire series in 1st grade and feel like she had a huge influence on me. She's honest, smart, fiercely loyal, and never gives up - plus she had a cool car and sweet boyfriend. A girl couldn't ask for a better role model that that.

Deb said...

I agree with Bane. I've had no fictional characters influence my life, but that doesn't mean that I haven't admired many. Jo March and Laura Ingalls come to mind. They were two independent-minded young women struggling in a harsh world.

KayKayBe said...

Nathan, thanks for being so courteous in your reply email! I was feeling like a jerk after sending it when I realized that you would be buried from the vaca backlog.

I saw myself in every character I've ever read- Jo March, Sara Crewe, Mary Lennox, Carina from 'the island of the blue dolphins'.
But the character that made me want to do better and be more was Eustace Scrub from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. He was such a snot!

Robena Grant said...

As a child, I'd have to say Nancy Drew influenced me the most. I think it's fairly common in the formative years to identify with fictional characters.
As an adult, while I've enjoyed certain character traits, I don't think I've personally been changed by any. Could be that I admire more the creator, the author's ability to bring the character to life.

writtenwyrdd said...

No particular character (except perhaps Paul or Jessica in Dune) but Frank Herbert's writings really influenced me in high school. It was the psychological approach to his stories that grabbed me.

Also the Narnia Books (the horse from The Horse and His Boy--thus explaining my love of snarky characters) and too many other books to name. Mostly, I think I took encouragement from empowered characters who overcame hardships. (I was very shy.)

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how few people have said Harry Potter or one of the lesser characters in Harry Potter canon for this! I swear, Harry Potter has made me a better person -- I've reread this series every year for as long as I remember. The characters are relistic, honest, and very driven. Love the books, love the author (who's an inspiration in and of herself) -- just an amazing series! ^_^

Christine H said...

I was deeply affected by the animals in Felix Salten's Sixteen Rabbits. I always think of them when I see a rabbit. And Bambi. The book, not the movie.

He had a way of getting inside the animals minds that was utterly compelling. He didn't humanize them, but made their instincts sympathetic and accessible, including the way they react to and perceive humans. It has always affected the way I react to animals, domestic or wild.

Mira said...

Lol. Thanks for that Wanda.

The issue of whether I'm real or not has been raised before. Although some people might think otherwise, I am almost 100% certain that I am a fictional character.

I assume I've inspired you to be a stalker? If so, my good work here continues.

Malanie said...

I would have to say Tex, but as I am rereading Of Mice and Men, grumpy ole' George's heart is making an impact upon me.

Sorry about all those emails!

Scott said...

You sent Nathan 220 queries, Malanie? Phew, that's quite a body of work you have. ;-)

~Jamie said...

Actually I am the one that sent him 220 queries... most of them are just for projects I have in my mind, but a couple of them have a page or two written :)

For me it's always Scarlett O'Hara. She's the ultimate girl power, even before the spice girls were shimmying all around and winding their bodies down :)

Kristin Laughtin said...

SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE in general had a big effect on me, and especially Billy Pilgrim. Vonnegut and I often have different ways of looking ways of looking at the world, but his work has always been a huge influence on me, especially when he wrote through Billy. His way of looking at life, death, and time made me question my own perceptions and expand them.

Dale Emery said...

Ishmail. Not the whaler, but the telepathic gorilla philosoper from Daniel Quinn's Ishmael and My Ishmael.

AmyB said...

Hmm, Atticus Finch maybe.

Or any of the female characters in Barbara Hambly's early work. I loved reading SFF, but so much of it (in my day--talking about my formative years here) was sexist/misogynistic. I found myself having to identify with the male characters in the books, because the female characters weren't interesting. Then I discovered Barbara Hambly and her wonderful, strong female characters who team up with wonderful strong, male characters. And I read those books until they were dog-eared.

Erin Cabatingan said...

Well, I did decide to name my daughter Lucy while my husband and I were reading the Chronicles of Narnia together...

playingwithchildren.blogspot.com

Liana Brooks said...

An unpublished character I created to cope with some extreme circumstances. The book has since been shoved under the bed, but verbalizing the internal conflict from the situation helped me deal with everything.

For published characters, hmmm.... it's hard to say. Let's try an amalgam of Granny Weatherwax, Ender Wiggins, Lessa of Pern, and the Metadi siblings.

A cookie for anyone who knows all those books/series ;o)

T.Wolfe said...

I would have to say it is a character I created for a cyberpunk role playing game that then turned into a character for a novel. She has been with me for a while. She has taught me how to deal with things beyond my control and still have fun. :)

Thomas Burchfield said...

I honestly have to say . . . none! And as I tend to like bad guys and villains quite a bit, that's probably a darn good thing.

Using fictional characters as "role models" has never been my thing. I still prefer real-life figures, like Franklin Roosevelt for one. Maybe I find fictional characters a little too shadowy and insubstantial.

Certainly writers like Donald Westlake et al have inspired me in my "writing work."

Speaking of writing work, I typed "The End" on my novel "Dragon's Ark" late Saturday afternoon and will post about that later in the Red Room.

That may make me around number 110-120 . . . but whatever number I am, I have plenty to do while I'm waiting. So. take your time, Nathan!

Joy said...

I have to echo the other women and say Jane Eyre and Anne of Green Gables. I still freely use the term "bosom buddy" to describe my dearest friends.

Walter said...

It switches with almost every new book. I feel like I take on characteristcs of my favorite character in each new book during the time I'm reading it.

Marsha Lyn said...

I would have to say Eve Lavigne from Kelley Armstrong or Anita Blake from Laurell K Hamilton's series.

Lara said...

I can't believe no one else has mentioned Hopey & Maggie from Love & Rockets. I think of those characters all the time.

Diana, I'm a huge Barbara Pym

Lara said...

oops, meant to say "Diana, I'm a huge Barbara Pym FAN" :)

Anita said...

HARRY POTTER-courage
STARGIRL-individuality
BRIDGET JONES-hope
ATTICUS-integrity
JUNIE B. JONES-persistance, spunk
POOH BEAR and friends-loyalty

darkened_jade said...

Has to be Tori Alexander from the Ancient Future Trilogy. Her attitude of creating positive outcomes was very inspirational when I was in high school and has definitely helped me out along the way.

Mira said...

Oh, I didn't say who influenced me.

As a child, Frodo from Lord of the Rings. He was a reluctant, ordinary hero. He gave me the idea that anyone could chose to follow the right path - "I will take the ring...though I do not know the way."

Haste yee back ;-) said...

Who could ever forget...

Sticky Valves and Gummy Rings!

Haste yee back ;-)

intotheforest said...

Sidney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities and Jane Eyre from, of course, the book of the same name. Carton is such a flawed character and yet he becomes a hero. I think he's one of the most fascinating characters in all of literature and I only aspire to write characters like that. And Jane Eyre is such a spunky independent type, defying the status quo of her times (especially in childhood), that I can't help but love her too.

Mira said...

Oh. Ayn Rand's character's inspired me. They inspired me to want to bop them on the head.

Alex Green said...

Steven Fuller,
You know as well as anyone that Jesus is not a fictional character! At first I went "Aw." but then I went, "WAIT."

Georgia Nicholson for her ability to make female comradery look enticing. All of the characters in the Idiot for making me remember we're all effed up but also human.

Dawn Montgomery said...

Okay, I'm going back to middle school for this one. I grew up in little town Texas with a few old school beliefs about a woman's place in the household. This isn't as long ago as you'd believe since I'm only 30...

Anyway, I picked up a book called Crystal Singer and in it, the heroine chose to leave her world behind and begin a new life elsewhere. I was amazed.

And the reading obsession began. Strong women breaking the mold of those before her, the adventuress, the scientist, the mother who defied convention...

I'll always owe my first spark of adventure to Anne McCaffrey. Nice question!

Anonymous said...

Back off, Wanda, that's my job. For a minute I thought you had struck her speechless. Although Jason is after my heart with the Albus Dumbledore and Gandalf answer. I think I’ll let Wanda be your stalker, Mira; I am moving on. But, Mira, don't feel bad if you ever have a fictional book published I will be the first in line to read it.

JO

Nikki Hootman said...

Alyosha & Ivan of the Brothers Karamazov. That book changed my life forever. I read it in college, saw myself in Ivan, and realized I wanted to be an Alyosha. One year later I was teaching English in a small Chinese city. I made mistakes. Picked myself up and went on. I fell in love and got married. Made more mistakes. Kept going. Now I'm having a baby. I assume I'll make even more mistakes. But that's the whole point. I gave up my esoteric theological nitpicking - stepped outside and LIVED.

Author Guy said...

Tarkas, the hero of my own series. As I was writing him he was writing me. Writing should be a piece of selfexploration as well, otherwise why bother?

Anonymous said...

I didn't read much when I was kid. The one that I wanted to be like, in spirit only, was Wonder Woman. Why? She always seemed to have the answers. Knew how to solve a problem. Not only physically but mentally as well.

Nikki Hootman said...

PS Just have to say this... sorry for nitpicking, but guys and gals, it's Ender WIGGIN. Not Wiggins, WIGGIN.

Thank you. :)

Audrianna said...

All of the characters in "Thirteen Reasons Why" have influenced my greatly - simply because I now think, when I'm talking to someone, if I've influenced them for better or for worse. Reading this book made me super aware of what's going on around me and how even the smallest act can change the course a person's on. I guess as a writer I should have thought of that, but the book really presented it in a good way. I would totally recommend the book for anyone who hasn't read it.

Anna said...

I like Helen Garp, Jenny Fields and Roberta Muldoon too...

I like "The World According to Garp" a lot. Having said that, I wouldn't say they've influenced me. But I sure like those women; strong, standing their ground, yet vulnerable.

Hope you had a good holiday, and since Dick Cheney wasn't there, I imagine it was fairly nice, if not maybe a tad quiet... :)))

Novice Writer Anonymous said...

TeeVee Humphrey- it was one of the first books I ever read on my own and he always won out by being upright and honest.

Mr. Darcy- He turned me into a hopeless romantic. (Along with all the classic Disney films.)

Aslan- He was always so good to everyone even when they went wrong. Someone we can all emulate. (Yeah, I know he's modeled after Christ.)

Novice Writer Anonymous said...

I hadn't heard that about David Eddings! I loved the Belgariad. And the Mallorean. There were even some endearing qualities to his Sparhawk books. I'm so sad now. *sniff*


Silk was always my favorite character of Eddings'. Though Belgarath would run a close second.

April Hollands said...

Jane Ayre's martyrdom annoyed me so much that it made me go on to study literature at university, just to figure out exactly why she was who she was, and how I could marry my feminism with her 'happily ever after' ending. Still struggling with that one despite all the justifications for it.

Anonymous said...

@ Brittany Hansen

My principal read that at my HS graduation to inspire us to be like that.

It is not a bad message to follow

Erastes said...

Lazarus Long from Heinlein's Future History series. He opened my eyes to life, and love, and adventure.

Daniel said...

Dirty Harry. Hardly a day goes by that I don't utter: "A Man's Got To Know His Limitations."

Jil said...

Mowgli -I wanted to live with animals as he did, so I swung from trees and prayed to become a boy. After I grew older I thanked God for not listening to me!

National Velvet - oh the wonder of being left a stable full of horses and riding Pie in the Grand National. I grew up to train steeple chasers and show jumpers.

Catherine Earnshaw - running wild on the moor with her lover. (Where is he?)

As an only child I think all I am is bits of characters I grew up with.

pubbloghub said...

I would have to say Thomas Covenant from Stephen Donaldson's books. Not because of who he was particularly, though I like the sort of anti-hero character thing, but the fact that following his journey is basically what inspired me to begin writing stories.

Nett Robbens said...

Mame Dennis ... (Auntie Mame, Mame) Lucille Ball played her in a movie, as did Rosalind Russell. However, there's a quote in Lucille Ball's version that I love.
"Life is a banquet and most sons of bitches are starving to death!"

Very influential line.

Alii Silverwing said...

It's probably telling that my favorite characters/influences are all 50-year-old-ish men.

Jubal Harshaw from Stranger in a Strange land. Cynical, philosophical and steeped in a perpetual sense of wonder.

Next,(don't laugh, k?) a character named Saetan. He's a grandfatherly figure in a series I adore who has an impeccable sense of self.

Dr. Dolittle, too, from the Adventures Of. I've always been fascinated with his, well, his 'everything is an adventure' attitude.

They were influences, though, not role models. If I were to name a role model, I'd have to cite any number of plucky young female protagonists like Ashleigh (from the Thoroughbred series) and Cimmoren (From the Enchanted Forest series.) They knew what they wanted and they went through crazy shit to get it. Clever and hard-working. And their relatively recent publishing dates rather marks me as youngish.

Jen C said...

Ryan said...
Early life:
Jason and Tommy from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.




Dude... that's rad! I loved MMPR! Jason was my favourite *swoon*.

As far as my influences go...

From TV: Sydney from Alias and Buffy - for being deadly, strong, firece women but also being nice and feminine in their down time. Proof that you can be a strong woman without losing your femininity.

Special mention to Ben from Lost, for being so deliciously dark and mysterious.

From books: Colleen from the Virutal Mode series by Piers Anthony. I really identified with her when I was younger and found the way she overcame obstacles with such strength and determination quite inspiring. I still feel a connection to quite a few Piers Anthony characters, especially from the Incarnations series.

30GreatBooks said...

I'd have to say the narrator in Kurt Vonnegut's Timequake, who is sort of Vonnegut and sort of Kilgore Trout. Due to weird cosmic happenings, the characters have to re-live their lives but can't do or say anything different - they just have to watch everything unfold for a second time. It really made me think about life and decisions, and how I would feel about what I was doing if I had to do it twice.

Wendy said...

Black Beauty taught me that life isn't always fair but made me want to be a better person (at five, admittedly).

Peter Pan and Wendy taught me I'm not the only one with a rubbish name.

Janie Starks from "Their eyes were watching God." I found her during my divorce and she saved my sanity.

Sebastian from Brideshead Revisted was probably the reason for aforementioned divorce since he taught me to love hopeless men, curse him.

I sipped Whiskey at fifteen because I wanted to be like Sebastian and it turned me off alcohol for life, so at least that part of his influence was positive.

And my dog Ryder was named after Charles Ryder from the same book. So it still keeps popping up.

Nathalie said...

The Count of Monte Cristo and his resilience.

Lisa Dez said...

Frodo (think book—not movie), the mostly reluctant and seriously accidental epitome of good. He also taught me to love reading when I was in Jr. High. Just an overall good guy.

abc said...

Zooey Glass fo sho. More recently I was pretty freaking moved by the His Dark Materials Trilogy but I can't think of one particular character that changed me. Answer: D, all of the above.

Lupina said...

I will always adore Ender Wiggin but he's so unique I could never say he has influenced me.

The Man in McCarthy's The Road, however, is someone I think about every day. The patience, the bravery, the honesty, the tenderness, the survival savvy,the self-sacrifice...what a human!

My other is Tess Durbeyfield of Thomas Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles. She is a truly good person -- graceful, kind, honest -- caught in a horrible situation. I love all Hardy's heroines but Tess is the best.

David Jace said...

(Nathan, how in the world do you have time to read all of these comments on every post?! You get hundreds!)

Good grief, there are so many characters to consider there. Since I was reading pretty young in life, I suspect more have affected me than I even know.

I named my son after King Trent the Transformer from Piers Anthony's Xanth series.

I've always admired Captain Willard Phule from Robert Asprin's (RIP) Phule's Company series and tried to keep him in mind when in positions of command. I particularly like his model of "changing the world to fit our needs."

Then again, I occasionally slip into Herman Melville's Bartleby the Scrivner: "I prefer not to be a little bit reasonable."

Mira said...

Sigh.

So, please skip this post, since it's not on topic, if you're not interested in...well...me.

Speaking of which, how exactly does a dating service based on Ayn Rand's philosopy work?

"I love me."

"Oh my god, we have so much in common. I love me, too!"

*Smooch*

So, I was turned down.

By a very nice rejection letter.

Not the nicest rejection letter I ever got, which would be, of course, an acceptance letter, but still a pretty nice one.

And I will say, it did not once say: "I do not feel passionately about your work."

For that, Nathan, I thank you. (As well as reviewing my query letter and responding so quickly. I know we're not supposed to write thank you letters, so I'm sneaking it in here. Clever, hun?)

Still, I feel disappointed. I didn't really want to write the book, of course. But I really, really wanted to meet Nathan for lunch.

Now I'll have to keep hiding in the bushes during his meal time. It's not the same as when you are actually invited to sit down.

Anyway, if you are my friends, please don't spend time here telling me to buck up and keep going. I intend to do neither. I'm going to eat my weight in chocolate and spend the next week in bed.

Of course, I was going to do that anyway, but I won't feel quite as guilty indulging in total sloth and gluttony if I have a ready made excuse for it.

Anyway, I realize that as a fictional character, it's my responsiblity to be a role-model in situations such as these. Here is how to handle rejection: You say to yourself: It's personal. Nathan hates me. In fact, no one loves me. I'm all alone. Life is an endless series of meaningless incidents, and then you die. If you're lucky.

Okay. Somehow, writing that made me feel better.

So, where is that chocolate?

Ben Dutton said...

Wilbur the pig from Charlotte's Web - taught me everything about being a good human (or pig) when I read it aged 5.

S said...

Santiago, from Ernest Hemingway's THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA.

Elaine 'still writing' Smith said...

Mira
Sad
But, chocolate is an excellent short term solution!
If chocolate had been a character in a book think how many mentions it might have got.

D. Michael Olive said...

Two characters, different but similar. First, Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird and second, Dritzzt do'Urden from R.A. Salvatore's Dark Elf Trilogy. Both highly moral and trying to keep their dignity in a bigoted & corrupt world.

Mira said...

Oh wait.

I just realized something important.

All the time I could have spent writing that book I didn't really want to write anyway.....

I can just devote that time to Nathan's blog.

Oh, I feel MUCH better now.


Boy oh boy oh boy.

I think I'll start with some fictional characters.

I need to go do some reseach. I'm going to list every book I ever read, and how the character affected me.

Oh, this is going to be good.

Let's see, when I was four, I read that picture book...what was it called. And then I read it again. We'll have to mention the repeats...hmmmm

wendy said...

Mira, your rejection comments - hilarious! (although sympathies there) If you haven't been published yet, you will be soon. You're wittiness really made me laugh. :)

Jen C said...

Mira,

Sorry to hear about your (lovely) rejection. I have always found that chocolate solves just about any problem on earth. (Except for sugar addiction... trust me, I know. I'm detoxing off it right now and I've had the shakes and falling-over-syndrome for the past 2 days.)

But, for emotional problems, chocolate is the way to go. Also, lots of action movies where things explode and people get beaten up but there's no actual story line (I'm looking at you, Transporter...). Then again, maybe it's just me.

Am I rambling again? Sorry. I guess I'm just so happy that Nathan's back! Yay!

Word Veri: unancha. unancha... means nothing, but if you say it a few times it's kinda fun.

thoughtful1 said...

I met Bilbo Baggin when I was about 10 years old and he guided me to the lands of nasty spiders, cranky elves, clodhopper trolls, and at last to a dragon's den. I dare say the experience changed the way I saw the world, opened up the warm corners I had snuggled in and let me see the immensity of all it all. I have to say that was pretty profound for a ten year old and though I have met other characters who have touched me deeply, the devil in Paradise Lost and Benjy Compson in The Sound and the Fury come to mind, I think it was Bilbo who got me started on my journey. Then again though maybe it was Nancy Drew when I was 9 and Black Beauty when I was 7 who taught me to love those worlds in books. Once again, a hard hard question to answer simply.

Dawn Maria said...

I'd have to say Celie, from Alice Walker's THE COLOR PURPLE. She is completely transformed by the end of the novel and the reader is there with her every step of the way. Love it every time I re-read it.

Mira said...

Thanks Wendy, Elaine, Jen.

Jen, I'm happy that Nathan is back too! :-)

Mmmmmmm.

Chocolate.

Jen C said...

PS Mira, I feel the same way about Ayn Rand.

And if I wasn't a billion miles away I would offer to meet you for lunch instead of Nathan. A poor substitute, perhaps, but we could paint each other's nails and talk about boys we like? Always works in the movies...

Kristi said...

Mira - sorry about the rejection but at least you're putting yourself out there. Good luck!

Melissa said...

Wow what a list! Seeing all these names is a walk thorugh memories of characters loved long ago. What about Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple? They could solve any mystery.

Mara Wolfe said...

Alanna from Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness and Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings.

Mira said...

Kristi - thanks.

Jen - that sounds like sooo much fun. I'm hopping on a plane to Australia right now.

Um. I'm bringing my chocolate with me.

Chocolate.....mmmmmmmmmm.

slcard said...

I can't think of any fictional characters which have most influenced me; there are just too many real people who make me stop and rethink my existence.

You once said real life is boring, Mr. Bransford. I cannot agree at all. The fiction is what allows me to breathe.


Ink:

Thanks for the news regarding Mr. Eddings. I think my heart is a little broken now. Sparhawk really was great.

Rick Daley said...

I had to travel for work today so I'm late getting to this, and quite disappointed that Steve Fuller already used my first choice. Is it coincidence that my travels took me to Cincinnati, and that's where Mr. Fuller resides?

As a father, The Man in THE ROAD showed me what true devotion to my children should look like, despite the circumstances dealt to us by life.

Laura Martone said...

Wow, so many great choices today... I have to agree with Dawn Marie about Alice Walker's Celie - what an amazing, life-affirming transformation she makes.

I just thought of another life-affirming character who has influenced me in a positive way... Maude from HAROLD & MAUDE (the play and the movie). As she says, "Gimme an L. Gimme an I. Gimme a V. Gimme an E. L-I-V-E. Live. Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room!"

Amen, sister!

Oh, and Mira, don't let the turkeys get you down. You're at least in good company - Nathan rejected me, too... but it's all good. It actually forced me to write a better query (still, er, in progress). Mmm, chocolate.

thoughtful1 said...

Absolutely, Miss Marple. And Sherlock Holmes. And then again what about those already mentioned high school influences, Jane Eyre, Cordelia in King Lear, Cathy and Heathcliffe...what a twisted view of love those I actually believed in for so long. I guess this dates me. Smile.

Lucinda said...

Little Red Riding Hood and that gorgeous wolf lurking in the woods...

pilot said...

Gee-whiz. I’m running again into much the same characters posted on May 20th.
The best answer belongs to Steve Fuller…. He said Jesus (if you’re willing to consider the New Testament fiction…. Which it my well be).
Hey Nathan, how about a post dealing with the best book or author?
Could get interesting…. LOL

John said...

Without question, Jay Gatsby. He is triumph and tragedy at once.

D. G. Hudson said...

In Life & writing - Sherlock Holmes and Yoda.

However, Gandalf and Spock influence my reading of fantasy and science fiction. Herbert's Paul Atreides and Duncan Idaho were favorite characters that kept changing, but managed to retain their core.

They all seemed to have more wisdom than most, and that's something I value. I also like the unorthodox attributes, or habits that each had as part of their character traits.

The authors who created them gave them some of that life-like essence, causing us as readers to perceive them as real people.

If it has to be only one - then I'd say Sherlock Holmes.

lisanneharris said...

Snoopy. I loved his snicker. Wasn't it the coolest when he sat on top of his dog house clicking away on the typewriter? :)

J. M. Strother said...

Babar. Yes, the elephant in the green suit. He was the foundation of my love of reading and not a bad role model to boot.

Scout and Atticus, from To Kill a Mockingbird. They deeply influenced my sense of justice.
~jon

Courtney said...

Hmmm.

I'd have to say Sherlock Holmes, Kit from The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and Donal Grant from the book of that title written by George MacDonald, have all influenced me in some way or another.

The longer I think about it, the longer my list grows, though.

Word Ver: Munciser--somebody who excercises...money.

In a sentence: The munciser recently bribed a public official; he is now doing jail-time.

Eric said...

Kurt Vonnegut's Lionel Boyd Johnson (a.k.a. Bokonon).

Eric said...

And re: edonsi--I read the Dark is Rising sequence in middle school and loved it. I think you're the only person I've ever heard reference it.

Juliette said...

Aslan

"'Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you." The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis

I loved that Aslan wasn't a tame lion - that he retained his wildness and mystery while still being utterly Good.

It greatly influenced my understanding of God, scoffing at the thought that we can contain him in our rituals and cathedrals.

Wild, unpredictable and Good. Love it!

Kelly said...

Major childhood influences included the children in A Wrinkle in Time (I wanted to be them) and Ponyboy in the Outsiders (I admired his conviction and wanting to do good despite his circumstances). As an adult, I can relate to the tree in The Giving Tree. You want everything for your children.
My three favorite characters from a book are Fred Weasley, Junie B. Jones, and Jake Brigance (from A Time to a Kill).

Juliette said...

It's interesting that so many of us (a mathematician can calculate the stats) cite characters from our childhood or teenage years of reading. Just goes to show what we already know, that what our children and teens are reading is highly influential in their lives. We better make sure it's quality.

custom term papers said...

Would you believe that Tom Sawyer influenced me to be like a kid most of the time. I am a very serious and anti-social before I read his adventures and now I am getting a social life back.

gerriwritinglog said...

I would say the characters that influenced me the most are from when I was young. Roger Zelazny's Corwin of Amber taught me to be stubborn as all hell, and all the characters of E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensmen series taught me the focus of will and the choices we make define who we are.

Come to think of it, I'm still pretty much under the influence of those characters.

Authentication code: rhero

I don't think I need to say more. :p

Laurel said...

Juliette:

I've noticed the same thing in myself and others. We are much more greatly influenced by things we read in childhood. Characters I've met as an adult fascinate me and make me think but haven't really influenced me in the fundamental, personal values way that childhood heroes did.

Gilbert J. Avila said...

George Bowling from Orwell's "Coming Up For Air." I wasn't so much influenced by it (I read it when I was 20), but in hindsight it was prophetic. It reminds me of what Howard Helms said:

"Along with being deceptive and crippling, memories can also be beautiful. If it is perilous to look back, it must be madness to want to go back."

Yamile said...

All my faves have already been mentioned: Jo March, Jonathan Levingston Seagull, and Donald Shimoda. I met them all before my 9th birthday, and many things I've done with my life happened because of things I learned from them.
Hank Riordan and Francisco D'Ancona (Atlas Shrugged). In spite of their many flaws, I can look at my life now and see what I am doing that is productive and worthwhile. That speech about money, priceless.
And since the Summer of 2000, when I discovered Harry Potter, I've read the series every year, several times. Her characters feel like people I know. I think about them daily.

Yamile said...

Oh, I forgot, he's not actually an inspiration for myself, but Max from the Wild Things grew up to be my husband. He's still the same; I send him to bed without dinner sometimes. And our little son, he's just like his father. At this house we read "Where the Wild Things Are" twice a day, in English and Spanish. I know my son identifies with Max, and after reading the book so many times, I've learned to appreciate the things that make him a Wild Thing.

bridget in oregon said...

Scarlett O'Hara.

I read Gone With the Wind when I was thirteen. Even at that age I always thought she should have had more fun with Rhett. I also wondered why couldn't she recognize Ashley as the pansy he really was?

Patrick Rodgers said...

Interesting question, I just started writing my second novel and I got the idea for it all the way back in 1999 (yes I should have started writing like a decade ago) from a movie and a film character.

The movie was a Perfect Murder with Michael Douglas. Now Douglas is the ultimate villain in this movie and yet he gets foiled by sheer dumb blind luck because the good guy always has to win. It angered me then and it angers me now.

So I wanted to write a screenplay with this Villain in mind and do it right instead of foiling the villain just so the good guy could win but I had never even read a screenplay. The idea sat like that in limbo for a number of years as I couldn't write a screenplay. In 2006 I wrote the first ten pages of the story I had in mind as I decided to do it as a novel instead of screenplay.

I abandoned the project shortly after but it has nagged me and for the first time in a decade I am hell bent on getting this story to paper.

I picked up where I left off in 2006 on Monday and have spent the last three days kind of tweaking what I wrote three years ago. Now I its 22 pages and I am in the flow.

Diana said...

Lara - the moment Mildred began to stress over whether or not the new neighbors would buy cheap toilet paper for the shared bathroom, I knew I found a kindred spirit.

Liz Argall said...

Jack London's White Fang - was a touchstone of strength, endurance and change.

Mira said...

Laura - thank you.


Mmmmmm, chocolate.

You know, I feel really GOOD right now.

Chocolate......

Weronika said...

Rose from East. I loved her strength and courage.

Otherwise, I will have to go with Narnia figures--Lucy especially--and these days I also find myself thinking often of Anna from My Sister's Keeper. She was so conscientious of good and bad in a contemporary setting.

pjd said...

Mary Poppins.

Brianna Kingsley said...

I would have to say HongGilDong.
This charactor definately inspires me.

Shell said...

This is crazy late to be leaving a comment, but today has not been one that allowed time at the computer, and this is a question I really wanted to answer.

When I first read Lord of the Rings I loved Frodo, had a huge crush on Aragorn and just wanted Gandalf to be my grandpa or something. A few decades later, I find myself hoping that I am like Sam--completely dedicated to the people I love, fearless in moments of terror, and so centered in who I am that after the end of the world I am still me.

Taran from Prydain has been another great influence on my life. I love the series, but my favorite one by far is Taran Wanderer. Taran leaves to find his parentage, hoping it is noble so he can marry Eilonwy, and finds a sheepherder instead. Ultimately he learns that who he is is more important than where he came from (Reader's Digest has nothing on me when it comes to condensing things).

Almost fourteen years ago I met my father for the first time, and though I'm very happy that I did, I had already learned from Taran that I was already okay without that question being answered.

As for David Eddings, I was planning on reading the Belgariad to my son this summer. He's plenty capable of reading it himself, but so far he doesn't seem to mind too much when his crazy mom still reads to him, and I can't stand to miss out on all the giggles and chuckles, especially once Silk comes along. If I could just drag the kid away from that darn Wii...

Maya / מיה said...

Charlotte and Wilbur from CHARLOTTE'S WEB. Made me cry when I was five, think in college, and always celebrate the power of friendship and loyalty.

Anonymous said...

It's always been Alice in Wonderland. Her constant unfazedness,managing to be polite (hiding how courageous she's really being) in the midst of so many turmoils taught me a lot. Also, Alice gave me an excuse to be permanently curious and mix with outrageous people without losing a sense of self.

Cat said...

Pippi Longstocking. I always wanted to be so self-assured and after many years of training myself I am close.

s.w. vaughn said...

Hector the Collector, from Shel Silverstein's poem of that name.

WitLiz Today said...

Clyde Griffiths, "An American Tragedy."

Life lesson Number One: Making one really bad decision can mean the difference between life and death.

Life lesson number two: That everyone is capable of making such a decision, but not everybody will.

I was ten when I read "An American Tragedy." It had a profound influence on my life as I went into my struggling teen years, searching for any kind of moral compass. This book should be required reading in High School, imho.

This is why its so important that children be taught not only to read asap, but they should be challenged in high school to read a full-spectrum of classic literature, as well. I remember I wasn't challenged much in HS to read anything, but that didn't really matter, because I read anything I got my hands on from the time I was six.

And now that I'm older and writing, I'm learning that the quality of my writing will depend largely on my reading habits.

Debby said...

Yossarian in Catch 22

Anonymous said...

Wow, I'm stunned by all the responses.

I don't think any fictional character has influenced me. There are a few that I wouldn't mind being friends with, but, "influence" -- as in, change what I think or how I think? None. Their circumstances aren't mine.

You can admire a character's bravado or sense of humor or tenacity or whatever, but I hardly ever stop and think, in the middle of a mess -- Wait, what would Jay Gatsby do?

mb said...

Flora in Cold Comfort Farm. Common sense trumps all!

Actually, there are so many characters that have influenced me in small ways. I don't take them as role models, but I do think of them at times in life when their stories resonate for some reason, and a line or two, or an attitude from a character will come to me.

Laurel said...

Anon 5:32

I don't think many adults are much influenced by characters beyond an occasional sense of being uplifted by the story but surely lots of ten year old girls have asked themselves "What would Anne Shirley do?" Or Laura Ingalls or Jo March or whoever.

WitLiz:

I always had mixed feelings about imposing literature on kids. I know I read some things in ninth and tenth grade that I was fully capable of understanding. I had the intellectual capacity for it. But at fourteen and fifteen I didn't have the experience to appreciate it. More than one classic was more or less ruined for me because I was too young when I read it. Bigger themes and non-happy endings than I had the background to deal with, yet, I guess. I'm sure there are kids who are ready to tackle some of the works on high school reading lists but for the most part it might be the reason so many of them view classic literature with distaste.

On the other hand, it seems negligent not to make literature part of their education. Alas, alack, I lack the solution!

terri said...

Reluctant hero characters such as Tom Joad from Grapes of Wrath, Stu Redman from The Stand, and Jack Ryan from the early Tom Clancy books (before he developed super powers).

verify word: 'lamonvif' just too cool not to mention

terri said...

And, Ginny Babcock from 'Kinflicks.' I ask myself 'what would Ginny do?' and then do the exact opposite. She was short on impulse control, self-esteem and common sense.

Anonymous said...

Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennet, Jo March, Laura Ingalls and Anne Shirley.

For ever and ever, Amen.

To me those five have always had some sort of magical power. And the older I get, the more insight I gain into each of their stories.

Justus M. Bowman said...

Cleric Preston from Equilibrium.

JStantonChandler said...

Meg Murry & Calvin O'Keefe from "A Wrinkle in Time"

Jo March from "Little Women"

Jack from "Here There Be Dragons"

Luna Lovegood from the "Harry Potter" series

I'm sure there are others, but those are the first that leap to mind.

LindsRay said...

As a child, Anne of Green Gables was my hero. She was dreamy and imaginative like me, and I wanted to go to college and get my BA like she did. So I became an English major and write like crazy in between teaching school.

Anonymous said...

I read this book by Ted Dekker once. I think it was called Showdown. He had a character in there...a really freaky guy with a black trench coat and broad rimmed hat...and he decomposed over the length of the story. I don't know why, but I remember that character more than any other. He still gives me nightmares.

Matilda McCloud said...

Bigger Thomas in NATIVE SON by Richard Wright (and characters in INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison and in RAISIN IN THE SUN by Lorraine Hansberry)

the characters in Leon Uris's novels like EXODUS taught me about the Holocaust before schools and media were talking about it, and so were life changing for me

ATTICUS FINCH

HARRIET THE SPY/ HOLDEN CAULFIED(proto-writer/outsider types who observe the world and with whom I feel a kinship)

STRONG GIRL CHARACTERS like Nancy Drew, Jo March, and others...

ryan field said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ryan field said...

Eugene Grant from LOOK HOMEWARD ANGEL, by Thomas Wolfe and edited by Maxwell Perkins

MervD said...

Mostly pre-teen stuff. Tom Sawyer, Calvin and Hobbes, Peter Parker, Professor X.
A little bit later, the young Waverly Jong from Rules of the Game. She's one of the few Asian American characters that influenced me.

Patrick Rodgers said...

Laurel your right as a kid I was probably more influenced by characters. While as adult a lot of times I am like well I could have written that better.

I end up really liking a character but the rest of the plot and storyline are very weak and substandard and I want to do the character justice in a proper story.

Sometimes not even that my character from the novel I am writing right now doesn't even resemble Michael Douglas' character from a Perfect Murder at all. He is just similar in that he is the ultimate villain and the character just was born when I saw that particular movie.

Anonymous said...

So many... come to mind.

Cinderella, Prince Charming, Peter Pan, Tinkerbell,
John Galt (sigh)...
Pi
Dorothy (THE Dorothy of the Wizard of OZ)
of course, the ultimate moralists:
Jesus
Jimminy Cricket

And lately, obsessively, Edward from Twilght (mmmmmm)

@booktweeting said...

Harriet the Spy, first and foremost. And Jo March. They were a big part of my childhood self-definition.

After that, Colette, as she presented herself in her autobiographical works (which, like many autobiographies, were largely fictional!)

Also Sherlock Holmes, Nero Wolfe, and Miss Marple.

M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin has influenced me by negative example--there are some traits of hers (e.g., belligerence when she's feeling defensive) that I am always trying to stamp out in myself.

Mira said...

I don't know. I still feel influenced by characters I read - especially if I admire them. Or perhaps if I don't.

I think to myself - "hey, I need to not make that mistake.' Or, 'I want to be more like that."

For example, right now, I'm feeling a great kinship with the chocolate factory in 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.'

I think I want to be a chocolate factory when I grow up. That factory has it pretty good.

Alex said...

In middle school, was Ender Wiggin, in Ender's Game.
High School: Ender from Speaker and Xenocide and Felix from Armor.
Now: Neil Gaiman's hero character model, with emphasis on Shadow in American Gods.

I think the trend here is fairly blatant. In middle school I was offered entrance into a special college level program at John's Hopkins for gifted and talented youngsters, but turned them down. The inability to escape one's own extraordinary circumstances seems to be a theme in my life, reading, and writing.

And welcome back, Nathan.

J Turpin said...

Flashman. George MacDonald's rogue anti-hero persevered through more than a dozen novels and I never got tired of his cowardice, knavery or sheer dumb luck. Comedy meets adventure meets history in some of the best books ever written... (though my favorite of his was the one-off "The Pyrates") RIP, George.

Laura Martone said...

Mira - I love CHARLIE & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (as I said yesterday, Roald Dahl was a huge influence on my literary leanings), but I'm not so sure I'd want to be Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. It's infested with singing Oompa-Loompas. Ick.

Patrick - Have you seen DIAL "M" FOR MURDER (A PERFECT MURDER was, after all, a sub-par remake)? While I like it better, I suppose it still has the same issue... a stupid villain. Personally, I appreciate genius villains (that's why I love SEVEN so much - that and David Fincher rules!). So, good luck with your story. Don't give up this time!

Anonymous said...

As a child, Lyra from His Dark Materials.

As an adult, too many to count!

Ryan Crafton said...

Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes.

You just gotta love that obnoxious, little guy.

Laurel said...

Ryan,

I birthed Calvin. Admittedly many years after Bill Waterson created the original version. He's a lot funnier in a cartoon strip.

Anonymous said...

Two female characters I have liked a lot in recent years and would like to be influenced by: 1) Luxa from Suzanne Colins' Gregor the Overlander Series, which I read to my son and he then read to himself. 2) Tasmin Berrybender from Larry McMurtry's Berrybender narratives. I have also been greatly inmfluenced by Junie B. Jones. I find myself realzing a lot of what my kids do is more normal than it seems when I remember parts of her stories. Plus in the Junie B. Jones books, like the Simpsons TV show, one can find a good example to explain almost anything to a kid in a way they can understand.

ella144 said...

Jo March from Little Women
Anne Shirley (of Green Gables)
Jane Eyre
Elizabeth Bennett from Pride & Prejudice
Anne Elliot from Persuasion
Harry Potter
August from Secret Life of Bees
Mary Russell from Laurie R. King's Mary Russell series
Esme Weatherwax from Pratchett's Discworld series

hmmm, mostly women it seems, but each of these characters has helped me understand something about myself or others. And as I've read and re-read these books throughout my life, they continue to teach me lessons.

Mira said...
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