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Natchez Burning
Rich in Southern atmosphere and electrifying plot turns.
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What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

Created: 09/23/15

Replies: 16

Posted Sep. 23, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 1318

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What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

Even though this is the start of a trilogy with Penn, he has been the protagonist of three previous novels -- The Quiet Game, Turning Angel and The Devil's Punchbowl. What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?


Posted Sep. 27, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliep

Join Date: 04/07/12

Posts: 69

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RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

I think it must be difficult to develop a character that readers will like but yet that is interesting and not perfect. A lead character should have enough personality flaws that will make readers identify with him, but not so many character flaws that readers will shy away from and quit reading.


Posted Sep. 27, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
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viviant

Join Date: 10/26/11

Posts: 23

RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

I have to agree with JulieP, ongoing characters need to be interesting and realistically flawed. I feel it is also important that the character appear to grow over the course of time. There are many series where the character is the same in book 15 as in book 1. There doesn't appear to be any personal growth or knowledge gained from past encounters. Even if a series isn't taking place in real-time, it is presumed that events are taking place over a few days, weeks, months, or years. As a reader, I expect to see the lead character grow rather than remain static. Flaws make us human, but an inability to change comes across as arrogance coupled with ignorance whether it's in a person or a character.


aka The Book Diva
Posted Sep. 28, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
laurap

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 163

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RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

I agree with both of the comments above - I think "likable but flawed" characters who grow over the course of the series are most effective in continuing to engage readers. I would add that such characters need to maintain a basic level of consistency - perhaps with regard to underlying principles or moral character - while changing enough to adapt to fresh challenges.


Posted Sep. 28, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
nanl

Join Date: 09/28/15

Posts: 23

RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

I'm also in agreement with these comments; I want the character to grow in depth over time yet stay consistent with the person we are first introduced to. He/She must be believable. When I find myself thinking "I can't believe he/she would do or say that", I'm disappointed that the author has either led me astray or has done a poor job of building to this point.


Posted Sep. 28, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Retired Reader, NE

Join Date: 09/16/11

Posts: 165

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RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

It's hard to keep a lead character interesting while not allowing him to become an action figure. He needs to grow and evolve across several plots and timeframes.


Posted Sep. 28, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dianaps

Join Date: 05/29/15

Posts: 183

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RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

The character has to have a lot of room to grow and enough experiences to develop his character.


Posted Oct. 01, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
irisf

Join Date: 01/16/12

Posts: 89

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RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

A character has to be likeable but flawed to be realistic. There is no such thing as a perfect person. It also can be helpful if the reader can identify with the protagonist


Posted Oct. 04, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mal

Join Date: 09/09/13

Posts: 155

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RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

I believe the character needs to evolve otherwise they become monotonous. Penn is a great example of a man in transition - dealing with both the past and present while the future is unknown. Creating challenges for the lead character is essential equal with how he deals with issues based on his personality shared with readers.


Posted Oct. 05, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alices

Join Date: 06/15/13

Posts: 11

RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

I think the largest challenge for an author, is to develop a character, who is believable. The days of comic heroes is long gone, so the character needs to stay current, and events believable. I enjoyed Natchez Burning, until the book began to stretch from 500 to 700 pages I feel the elongate adventure became tedious at that point.

aliceq


Posted Oct. 05, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
jww

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 128

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RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

More than anything, he/she needs to be believable. He/she needs to have enough personality, intelligence and courage to carry off a variety of scenarios. He/she doesn't need to be likable but he/she needs to instill empathy or understanding in the reader.
And the author needs to know when to stop! Natchez Burning was too long. It should have been edited to a couple of hundred pages LESS.


Posted Oct. 06, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
MarieA

Join Date: 10/12/11

Posts: 149

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RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

The most difficult challenge is keeping the character fresh and involved in believable situations. Often times series and sequels end up with the same bland character(s) with the only difference being in the names and sometimes in minute changes in description.


Posted Oct. 07, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Suzanne

Join Date: 04/21/11

Posts: 223

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RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

Always believability.


Posted Oct. 08, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
mariannes

Join Date: 12/17/12

Posts: 206

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RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

I agree that the main character, and hopefully all characters, need to be realistic. Realism means having both faults and strengths. Quirks add realism, too.


Posted Oct. 09, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
alycet

Join Date: 04/23/12

Posts: 77

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RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

The main character needs to be believable. You have to be able to relate to him in some ways.


Posted Oct. 15, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
dorothyl

Join Date: 04/15/12

Posts: 80

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RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

I think the danger is always that books in the series will be compared. People tend to like one book more than another. A character has to be consistent in some ways but, as others have said, has to evolve and grow like people in real life. When I say consistent, I mean, I dislike when a character suddenly changes basic traits for plot convenience. I would hope that each book in the series makes me more involved and want to read later books.


Posted Oct. 21, 2015 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
juliaa

Join Date: 12/03/11

Posts: 160

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RE: What do you think are the ongoing challenges in developing a lead character in a dramatic series?

I agree with most of the above comments. It is a challenge to keep a lead character consistently interesting through a series of books, while keeping him or her consistent and allowing room for the character to evolve. It is also a challenge to give enough information in each book of the series so that a reader who hasn't read the other books knows what the influences in the character's life have been, without repeating an entire plot line from an earlier book.


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