I like jerks.
That's my answer when somebody asks me about writing compelling characters.
I could go into a great laundry list of questions. Ask for definitions of words like compelling and character, or lists of likes and dislikes, but that would just mix all the whites with the bright or dark colors. Then everything comes out grey and you still don't know where the lost sock went.
Confusing, right? Exactly.
I like jerks. Like House. Tom Sawyer. Huck Finn. The Lorax. Clementine. Dorothy. Claudia. The Cat in the Hat. The little boy who planted a carrot seed. Vashti.
But especially House.
All spin cycle jokes aside, he is the most interesting, compelling character I've seen in recent times.
He is smart.
He is funny.
He is honest. And damaged. And pathetic. And he goes after what he wants, regardless of what stands in his way.
I don't always like him or agree with him. I AM always interested in what he'll do next.
Sort of like...my husband.
And that's what makes him compelling. House comes across as real. Heightened, of course. To superman proportions. It is a TV drama after all. But I bet he could probably find that freakin' lousy sock that always disappears in the dryer.
And he would definitely make laundry a whole lot more interesting.
DISCLAIMER: The above listed reference to my husband's personality is not meant to defame or damage said husband's reputation, esteem, or self-proclaimed sub-genius status.