I'm reading Allan Guthrie's Slammer right now (ridiculously brilliant), which is about a guy named Glass, a softie of a prison guard losing at the game of life. Man, this guy just can't catch a break--wife hates him, the other prison guards hate him, the prisoners use and abuse him. And the poor guy just takes it... along with a steady dose of drugs.
But soon that will all change. Soon, as the book jacket tells me, Glass will shatter! And I predict he will go on a rampage of epic proportions.
I'm very hungry for that moment. Can't wait for it. As a reader (maybe even as a writer, though haven't quite figured out that one yet) I relish this kind of character--the one who gets pushed around until one day he freaks out and scorches the earth.
A classic example of this is the Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas. He managed to tap into a real, everyday anger. Went from being mild-mannered to insane in seconds.
I'm not sure why I like these characters. I guess they're easy to relate to--most of the time most people must compromise or follow orders, so it's cool to see characters who say "Fuck that!" I also like that this character drives plot. The person who snaps--action is part of who they are.
What kind of characters do you like? Do you find yourself gravitating to certain kinds of characters?
A couple of great interviews: Chris Holm is part of the Conversations with the Bookless series at Spinetingler. He is one likable dude who knows a lot about writing. And I share his love for P.G. Wodehouse, one of the funniest writers ever.
Pulp Metal Magazine mastermind Jason Michel is at Bombs from Underground. He shares his refreshingly unpretentious approach to all things writing and editing, which shows in his excellent magazine.
The force of nature otherwise known as Paul Brazill is at Ginger Nuts of Horror. He's come up with the best reason I've heard for writing crime: "When you gaze into the abyss, the abyss sticks a nutty on you, so it’s a good way to face the darkness. Maybe."