1. DeathandGrim
    Offline

    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Messages:
    540
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Virginia Beach

    Depressing Character being likeable

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by DeathandGrim, Feb 26, 2013.

    My current protagonist, Nicholas Blade is a milestone for me in terms of storytelling. He's the first protagonist character who I've written about that seems to have no value in his or many others lives. I've had many other characters like him but none have been in the main character position before.

    I drew influence from one of my favorite Final Fantasy characters ever Squall Leonheart, because he too was pessimistic and bleak. While he wasn't on the level of Nick he still hated social interaction and people from the start, but as the story goes on you witness him break out of his shell and learn to accept others.

    That's sort of my goal with Nicholas, throughout the series I want to make him value himself and others as his life gets jerked around in several crazy and even supernatural ways. I want to paint the painful voyage of self growth and realization that would fascinate the reader into wanting to stick with him.

    But my problem comes from a relevant point in a review from the webseries Zero Punctuation where Yahtzee criticizes the main character from the game Darksiders because "he doesn't give a toss about anything he does" and added "so why should I?" Because from the earlier stages of the plot line Nick can't be considered likeable he's often portrayed as actually quite messed up

    Example:

    I intended on Nick being a cold bastard from minute one and progress him into a better person as he forced to interact with others in a meaningful way, but my question is could his callous actions possibly turn the reader away? Is there a point where the reader gets fed up with a character not progressing enough?
     
  2. Bimber
    Offline

    Bimber Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2013
    Messages:
    211
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    currently in Africa
    If your worried about it then give him something that people will like but that wouldnt change his character much like witty comebacks or sarcasm. Some how your MC reminded me of Dr.House
     
  3. DeathandGrim
    Offline

    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Messages:
    540
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    I do like using dark humor infused sarcasm it seems like it would go perfectly with him
     
  4. GhostWolfe
    Offline

    GhostWolfe Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2013
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Brisbane, Australia
    A character doesn't have to be likeable to be a good character. I didn't like a single character in L.A. Confidential, but they were still good, well-developed characters, & I still empathised with them.
     
  5. DeathandGrim
    Offline

    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2012
    Messages:
    540
    Likes Received:
    88
    Location:
    Virginia Beach
    That is true, I don't know its something about him being somewhat inhuman and him not owning up to it until he's confronted by a goddess that I think people would find off
     
  6. The Tourist
    Offline

    The Tourist Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,089
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Wisconsin.
    Personally I find villains and scoundrels the most fun to write about, for many reasons.

    "Heroes" are by definition bound by a set of conventions, the quintessential pasty Mary Sues. A "villain" can burn down most of the civilization in your story, and if done correctly, his actions will be the most entertaining to read. Even noble.

    I have a female character that originally was a spear-carrier. I utilized her as the "town-crier" of the yarn. She entered scenes where the lead character did not have a presence to provide information on the plot. She became such a richly woven character that now she's a favorite.

    And I worked hard on her, so I'm not going to give anything away, but she has absolutely no redeeming characteristics, and yet she's funny while being brutal and alluring while being a train-wreck.

    I wrote a soliloquy for my villain--not a shred of restraint in his entire being. Yet, people cheer for him.
     
  7. evelon
    Offline

    evelon Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2009
    Messages:
    613
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    England
    Yep. By far the most interesting characters are the villains. The things you can have them do! Magic.
     
  8. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,210
    Likes Received:
    4,222
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    S/He doesn't have to be the most morally upstanding person ever. I know plenty of fictional characters that, if they existed in our world, they'd be locked up in highly secured prisons or undergoing mental therapy.

    As Bimber said, if you're worried, give him/her something that the readers will actually side with? Say, for example, your MC would shoot up a whole bunch of people if it suited his/her needs; yet if she saw a little puppy or kitten trapped in a burning house, he/she is suddenly the goddamned Batman and breaking into the home to get that poor canine/feline out.

    They're free to be a complete jerk/monster, but if you want them to have some redeeming qualities, let them do something the readers could agree with that doesn't radically change their behavior that much.
     
  9. iWant iStrive
    Offline

    iWant iStrive Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    1
    This is going to sound like a bad example but it makes me think of the character Damon in the Vampire Diaries. He is a cold hearted murderer from the start, but there's always something that stops you hating him, and even in a way like him.

    I think this is achieved by the fact that some of his actions, although cruel, were the 'only way' to solve a problem and he was the only one capable of actually doing it.

    Also the character needs one weak spot which shows their humanity, it can be a long lost relative or lover that they still care about, but there has to be something.

    Also dark humour and sarcasm work very well.
     
  10. Thomas Kitchen
    Offline

    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,258
    Likes Received:
    422
    Location:
    I'm Welsh - and proud!
    Remember The Chronicles of Narnia's Puddleglum? Granted he was not the protagonist, but he was still on the 'good' side and he was one of my favourite characters from that series, even though he was extremely depressing. So yes, I think characters like that can work well. :)
     
  11. diminuendo
    Offline

    diminuendo New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2012
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Kansas, United States
    The key to this is making your character relatable. Give your readers real, everyday reasons, or obscure ones, for his attitude towards himself and the world. I often find that if I can relate to a character, I end up liking them.
     

Share This Page