“Zimmer voller Freunde”: A Look at the Characters (1)


This is part of a series of loose and informal musings / lists about my work on “Zimmer voller Freunde”, my first novel. To see a list of all “Zimmer voller Freunde”-related posts [most of them in German], go… here [Link]!


“Zimmer voller Freunde” is a coming-of-age novel set in 1999. It features three small-town kids – two boys, one girl – who ride the same school bus…

…and the friends, parents, teachers and romantic partners they clash with over the course of 11th grade.

There are three diaries. Multiple perspectives. An ensemble of teenaged characters, dealing with small-town crises. And there’s TV, identity, nostalgia, belonging and remembrance.

A corny / ironic pitch? Marcel Proust meets “Beverly Hills, 90210”.

A more serious (if equally preposterous) pitch? John Updike meets “Dawson’s Creek”.

To get an idea about the themes / style / tone, go here (Link).



Today, I want to take a closer look at the defining tropes / character traits of my main character…

…a guy named Stefan:

I’m a big fan of Anti-Heroes, Unreliable Narrators and interesting Character Flaws:

I don’t like Jerkasses or Complete Monsters

…but I think that – both in fiction and in real life – a person’s flaws (and their ways to deal with / rise above them) are what makes people interesting, unique and strong.


My main character (Link)


For better (Link) or worse (Link), Stefan wants to:


What is unique / memorable / problematic about him?

… his work ethic:

… his elitism / brashness:

… his ideas about friendship:

  • Muse Abuse: Exploits their real life and the people around them for the sake of their art, with harmful results.
  • Lack of Empathy: Does not have the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Implicitly trusts people who should really not be trusted.

… his ideas about romance:

… his competitive, all-or-nothing approach to cliques and popularity:


Are there strengths / good things about him, too?


Stefan is an Author Avatar (Link).

…but at the same time, he’s:


Some general similarities he shares with the other two main characters?


Related Posts:

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