Call me a typical ‘arty-farty’ literature student, but there’s nothing greater in a novel or film than the presence of a jolly good character. Lately I’ve been thinking about such matters (must be why I’ve not posted for yonks!) and I have come up with a list of -what I believe- are the top traits that seem to exist in an array of characters across many a genre.

#1 The one who always knows what to do

I recently saw the latest Star Trek film (call me a nerd all you like, I really enjoyed it!) but what I found particularly endearing about it was how a number of the characters seemed to always know exactly how to solve a crisis. This was, of course, pretty useful when they seemed to always be ten seconds away from certain death and/or heading straight into Earth. Perhaps this trait is especially appealing to me because of the many day-to-day crises I seem to befall. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that everyone could use a Spoc in their life, at least from time to time.

#2 The sarcastic one

Not only does this trait apply in the fictional realm, but a friendship circle simply isn’t complete without that sarcastic friend who’s always equipped with the quips! Although they say that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit, I would argue that, for me, Chandler Bing and his sarcastic witticisms pretty much make the classic TV show ‘Friends’.

#3 The eccentric

This is a fairly open-ended trait but I’m mainly referring to characters, particularly in novels, who have a voice that is notably distinctive and peculiar. Inspired by the character of Holden Caulfield in the infamous ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, this trait is mostly apparent through the narrator’s voice in the novel- the nonstop peculiarities of it, which, for me, almost completely made the novel.

#4 The loveable ‘dummy’

Perhaps it’s my motherly nature (pah!) or our ‘collective’ instincts as humans, but it seems as though the innocent, often slightly dim, characters seem to acquire most of our affection, (or at least, it’s slightly more painful if they happen to get killed!). Who knows, maybe there’s a tiny bit of ‘Forest Gump’ or ‘Baldrick’ in all of us!

#5 The gloriously funny one

The technique of ‘comic relief’ is almost a necessity in successful stories- they provide, as their title suggests, relief for a reader or audience who are otherwise immersed in an intense, or ‘full-on’, scene. Nevertheless, I would say that a character capable of creating such humour is certainly an admirable one.

‘Nobody tosses a dwarf!’