Share |
print

« Back to NoveList Blog Home

Character Appeal Makes Its Debut

Post by Victoria Caplinger
Posted April 27, 2015 in NoveList Plus, Readers' Advisory News, Special Announcements

NoveList SpotLight Image

When we first added appeal to NoveList, we focused most of our efforts around Tone and Writing Style. Since then, we’ve received occasional feedback asking why we didn’t include Character as one of our appeal factors. We were initially concerned that users might expect to see types of characters (hard-nosed alcoholic former detectives), or character names (looking at you, Mr. Darcy!). We already have subject headings that cover this kind of information, and we weren’t entirely sure what kind of terms would be helpful in talking about how fiction authors handle characterization.

Fast-forward a few months (or a couple of years!) and lots of research, and we decided to go for it. Rather than focus on the type of character, we concentrated on what people look for when the characters are the most important part of the reading experience.

For some readers, likeable characters are essential, and if you can add relatable to that, even better! Other readers require more depth, and for a suitably complex character may be willing to engage with a protagonist who is flawed, or even in some cases unlikeable. Some readers may be looking for quirky characters, rather than brooding, introspective ones, and books with large casts of characters may draw some readers in, while warning others away. And did I mention my personal favorite, unreliable narrator? No spoilers here!

Some of our character appeal terms are for younger audiences only. We mentioned in an earlier post the inclusion of our character diversity terms. Young readers might also find themselves drawn to books with mischievous characters, or with character duos (here you find your Ivy & Bean, or Elephant & Piggie, or Frog & Toad).

Curious to see the full list of what we came up with? Here they are:

Ability diverse
Authentic
Awkward
Believable
Brooding
Character duos
Complex
Courageous
Culturally diverse
Exaggerated
Flawed
Introspective
Large cast of characters
LGBTQIA diverse
Likeable

Mischievous
Quirky
Relatable
Religiously diverse
Sarcastic
Sassy
Snarky
Spirited
Spunky
Strong female
Sympathetic
Twisted
Unlikeable
Unreliable narrator
Well-developed

For more details (including definitions and audience levels), as well as information about the rest of our appeal language, download the Secret Language of Books: A Guide to Appeal from the What is Appeal page.

These appeal terms are ready to use in NoveList, so give them a whirl and see if you can find some characters to fall in love with!