We all need to relate to our characters, and I think there are just people we relate to much more easily than others.
For me personally, the characters that I find hardest to write means that I will probably never be a very good classic romance writer. Classic in the sense of normal, traditional. Because those stories usually require confident, hunky people, and that is hard for me. The young, hot, popular guy who is the heart-throb of so many movies and books. In other words:
I can't decide if it would be harder for me to write the lead quarterback or his head cheerleader girlfriend. I am much more comfortable with quirk. Characters who aren't quite comfortable in their own skin, who feel weird, who maybe don't have too many friends. I'm not saying any type of character is inherently better than any other, I'm just saying certain characters come easier for certain writers. I just don't see Taylor Lautner fitting in one of my stories anytime soon. Mark Ruffalo maybe :)
So now what. I don't know about you guys, but when someone says I "don't do" something, even if that someone is myself, the contradictory wave rises in me and I think, "Oh yeah? Watch me." Who needs limitations, right? But if we're not going to let ourselves be restricted by these uncomfortable characters, how do we deal with them? I've thought of two ways:
First, work with them anyway. So Traditional Football Hero is my weak spot. I'll think up a short story for that character and try it out. You don't have to stay with the character for more than a day, but it could be a good way to stretch some creative muscles.
Or else, quirk them up. As in, morph them into something your more comfortable with. Maybe I start with Traditional Football Hero but actually he's super shy and secretly hates sports. Or maybe he's a total jerk and ends up being the true antagonist, a la Doctor Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog. I'd be comfortable working with that :)
Your turn. What would be the hardest character type for you to write? Do you think trying them out in a short story or novella would be a valuable exercise?