This post might turn out to be more audience interaction since it obviously requires opinions to be shared.
Over the last two years, I’ve always gotten positive feedback and compliments in regards to Ichabod Brooks. Not that you can tell by the original short story’s lack of sales, but he gets a good reception on the blog. People like the excerpts and say that they connect with him better than my other characters. First, that is a little bittersweet because I put a lot of effort into the champions, Cassidy, Lloyd, and . . . well, Dawn is always by the seat of my pants and is nuts. Still, Ichabod would probably take one of the top 3 spots in a character popularity contest.
Now, I rarely get a reason as to why people like him over the others. Some hint that he’s in a short story structure, so it’s easier to invest than a novel. There also means it’s a simple tale with fewer twists and torments than the bigger stories. Others like the humor in his stories, which stems from either his wit or his bad luck. Yet, these are what people like about his adventures more than himself. So, what draws people into him when he isn’t over-the-top and off to save the world?
Well, that’s probably exactly why people might like him. You can connect to Luke and Nyx on an emotional level to some extent, but their quest is save the world. That creates a barrier that readers can’t immediately get over. It requires a lot more suspension of disbelief because we live in a world where people aren’t questing to save the world. Heck, many of us might not even believe a single person or small group of people are capable of such a thing. So, there will always be some distance that doesn’t come into play when you read about Ichabod.
Yes, he deals with monsters, magic, and gets into exciting fight scenes just like the champions. The difference is that he is portrayed as an ‘every man’ who is out to provide for his family. He talks about contracts, family, and life when on these adventures because he isn’t on a big quest. Ichabod is having another day at the office and dreaming of retirement. Him being middle-aged and having a reputation also means that he isn’t as reckless as younger heroes. So, there’s a mellowness to his demeanor and a sense of experience that is lacking in someone like Luke Callindor. You can relate to him even if your daily adventure is more about avoiding paper cuts than carpal tunnel.
I do get a few complaints about his wife and son not making appearances or getting much of a description. That’s intentional. Ichabod is trying to keep his work and family life as separate as possible. Even dropping a name can be dangerous and he’s fairly protective of his loved ones. I think this puts some mystery into him as well because hints pop up from time to time. This can make him appealing as well, but I’m not sure how much this factors into his popularity on the blog. Honestly, this is being brought up because I’ve gotten a few ‘I want a story with Ichabod at home on a day off’ requests. I hope people realize that doing that means I can’t do a lot of the playful hints that fit into his humor and realistic conversations. They would lose some impact. So, maybe it’s best that Ichabod retain some level of mystery.