Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ugly Characters Rock!

Recently I did a blog post about female characters we love. I enjoy sassy, strong willed, intelligent, creative, feisty female characters like Veronica Mars. This got me thinking about male characters I enjoy and I realized I like ugly characters. I don't know why but the uglier, the better.

Case 1- Guerrero from TV's Human Target played by Jackie Earle Haley. I don't mean to denegrate the man because of his looks, but...he's no Christopher Chance and that's the way I like it.

Like the female characters I mentioned, Guerrero has an uncanny ability to do whatever it takes to get the job done. He is super tough, sarcastic and can even be cruel. Even though he's a small man, I do not doubt for a second that he would bury me in a heartbeat if I crossed him, yet he's loyal to those he respects. If I were to create my own justice league of non-super tough guys, Guerrero would be on my team.
Guerrero is complicated. He runs on both sides of the law and is ethically challenged, yet he is consistent within his own morality.

Case 2- Ron Howard's Brother (AKA Clint Howard)

In case you think I am being rude, in the credits for The Waterboy, Clint's acting credit is listed as "Ron Howard's brother".

This is an ugly man, but I mean that lovingly. His unusual appearance, just like Guerrero, adds depth and reality to the characters he portrays. Not everyone can look like George Clooney or Brad Pitt (thank goodness- though some female readers may disagree), but I love that he is comfortable in his own skin. Not every man should be a leading man, but every character should add layers, contrast and conflict to a story.

These ugly characters do just that.
When we write our characters, I hope we make them unique in some way. Not every person in the world is beautiful. Every character we write should be interesting in some way, but they don't have to be a gorgeous movie star, because even some movie stars are ugly.
What characteristics do you appreciate in male characters?


  1. I LOVE Guerrero! He's short and not what you could call handsome, but he's a hottie in my book. He has a hilarious personality and a dry sense of humor, but he's thorough and gets the job done. He's a stud:-)

  2. I like unique qualities of characters in general, male or female. It boils down to quirks that make a character interesting. I especially like quirks or characteristics that are ones I don't expect. For example, Tamara Heiner's book, Perilous, has a detective who is always eating pickles. Because that isn't a typical quirk, it draws me in.

  3. I love the character "The Thing" played by Michael Chiklis in the "Fantastic Four". Ugly, but sweet and strong and on the side of right.

  4. Great point. I love the underdog (and if you've read my novel, you'll know why). There are very few people in the world with Hollywood looks, but that doesn't mean the rest of us can't have amazing happiness and amazing love stories!

  5. You're right Jewel. I love his sense of humor dude.

    Rebecca, Great example with the pickles. If we use the same quirky details as the next writer, then the details really aren't that quirky. We need to find ways to make our characters truly unique.

    Mary- I like the Thing too. Pretty funny.

    Maggie, I haven't read your novel but I need to. We all love the character who is able to overcome overwhelming odds to succeed in battle, love, whatever. If it's no great feat, why would I care to read it. Great point.