There are some writers who try to make ‘role model’ characters, though more often or not the ‘role model’ traits are so superficial or blatantly fake that I can only roll my eyes at them.
You know the types - the ”strong woman” whose “strength” seems to consist of snapping at her teammates, the “tough guy” who can handle everything by himself and has no need for anyone - or the tough guy’s counterpart, the ”sensitive” guy who expresses his sensitivity through weeping and gibbering over nothing. Ack.
It takes a mature writer to write a mature character, one whose strength is balanced by gentleness, wisdom, and clear, appropriate personal boundaries. I’ve found such characters to be regrettably rare, so I’m always happy to see one, and there are a very few I find honestly inspiring.
One example that comes to mind is Pa’u Zotoh Zhaan, a warrior-priestess from Farscape. As with any good character, she certainly isn’t perfect, but I love her balance of gentleness and strength, and her ability to not just see the best in people, but to inspire them to live up to that high expectation.
In my capacity as a marketing coach, there are a lot of times when I have to make a conscious decision about how I’m going to see my clients and potential clients, what I will expect from them, and how much I believe in them. For that matter, I’m finding more and more that almost every interaction is affected by the way I see the person I’m interacting with.
As I grow more balanced and mature myself, I'm finding that some of my characters are also evolving. Obviously, not all of them are even remotely meant to be a 'role model', but there are some whose strengths, lessons and growth were inspired by my own personal journey, and I'd love to see them become an inspiration to those of my readers who identify with them.
What about you? Have you ever come across a character in fiction whose personality or way of handling things inspired you?
I look forward to reading your comments.