1. Augusto
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    Augusto Senior Member

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    Disliking characters you created

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Augusto, Oct 3, 2015.

    It happened to me in both of my novels, that I found myself disliking some of my own characters. I don't even mean villains, I mean important characters in the story.

    Have this happened to any of you?
     
  2. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    It prevents Mary-Sues I guess. I read a quote relatively recently where an author purposefully wrote dislikeable characters, because they are interesting... I forget it alas. Can anyone help me out here?

    Anyway, too many MCs are audience surrogates (i.e. bland, blank canvases; just look at Harry Potter). I like the idea of dislikeable characters. Not two-dimensional Machiavellian characters, but just introducing fifty shades of grey; that should be introduced more often, perhaps even into out curriculum.
     
  3. DueNorth
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    DueNorth Active Member

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    As a writer, no, I probably just haven't written enough yet to get to the point of developing such an unlikable character. But from the reader's perspective, I find it hard to be very interested in unlikeable central characters. I am currently reading Jonathan Franzen's newest novel, "Purity," and about a third of the way thru I am yet to find a likeable character--not even sure whether I'll finish the book. Point being, I want to care what happens to the characters, to get emotionally invested in them. In "Purity," at least so far I don't give a hoot what happens to Pip or Andreas or the rest.
     
  4. Augusto
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    Augusto Senior Member

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    I meant... I created a character that was meant to be cool because he is one of the main characters of my novel. A few people told me they like him and all... but I personally hated him. Because of this, I intentionally found the way to make him suffer more in the novel, and that made me happy... the result is that people liked him more and all... but I did not. I think he is an idiot. It's a personal thing and it wasn't something I had planned. I just came to dislike this particular character a lot.

    Weird?
     
  5. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    I can't say I've really written a character I've actively disliked. I mean, I have some pretty awful villains, and some nasty supporting players, and if they were real people, I'd think they were scum. I think it must be a case of "yes, he's a puppy-eating serial killer, but he's my baby" sort of thing.
    I read The Magicians by Lev Grossman, and if the actual plot weren't so interesting, I wouldn't have finished, and it was still a chore.
     
  6. rainy_summerday
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    rainy_summerday Active Member

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    I can't say I've experienced this yet. Probably because my stories are all character-driven. If I disliked the MC, there would be no point of continuing the story. In a way, I am in love with the MCs, and that is why I feel like they deserve their story to be told truthfully. Showing their good sides, showing their bad sides. As if they were my first, last, best, worst love.
     
  7. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    But you only say that out of guilt. Remember that time you ran over a bunch of school children collecting worms. We all remember, we all remember.
     
  8. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    Is it possible you might be subconsciously using the character as a replacement for someone you know in real life?
     
  9. Augusto
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    Augusto Senior Member

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    Not really. To be honest, it's just the nature of the character and what it represents. I couldn't change it, so I hurted him and enjoyed it... which make him more likeable (lol).

    It was like "what would this character say in this situation?" Yeap, I knew exactly what he was going to say. He was close minded and even if I wanted to put myself inside of the story I wouldn't be able to change his mind, so his behavior was pretty clear and I couldn't alter it if I was to keep the integrity of his psychology (otherwise it was going to look fake), so I made him suffer and laughed really hard!
     
  10. rainy_summerday
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    rainy_summerday Active Member

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    I am sorry, I don't quite understand your reply to my post. Could you elaborate?
     
  11. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    The school children and the worms? You had a few too many glasses of wine and needed cigarettes. You thought no one would notice but the children were collecting worms and you hit them?
     
  12. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    Okay, chin, I want you to go lie down until the voices stop.
     
  13. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am glad the Police do not have your bedside manner, When they asked me about this, I told them she was drunk in her car desperately searching for a a nicotine fix (and anything else she could get, I might add), when she saw a field full of children collecting worms. What did she do? Stamped on the accelerator and aimed for the poor children while screaming "Zulus, Thousands of them" at the top of her voice, a voice that sounded uncannily like Michael Caine. Was she mental I ask you, was she?
     
  14. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    The answer is "yes, she was", she then went on to steal my guitar and break it on the face of my pet dog. "Crazy?" you may ask, and do you know what the answer is> The answer is: "Yes, she is indeed crazy, perhaps a little too much crazy"
     
  15. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wrote my MC as more or less a psychopath at first and had to rewrite it because I found I didn't feel comfortable with her. If I can't see any light within a character it's like sitting with a person. Why would I be in the room with that person? What would I get out of it? It's been an odd experience.
     
  16. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've never written a character I dislike. I should point out that I don't actually write villains; I try to make my characters realistic people who may have different priorities, different goals, so they find themselves sometimes at cross purposes.

    I've only once written a character I really love, and he's the closest thing to a Gary Stu I've written. I don't really care - his effect on the MC of that story drives the plot, and if he wasn't a Gary Stu, the story could not happen.

    The vast majority of my characters I neither love nor hate. I'm just fascinated by them. I love putting them in tough or unusual (for them) situations and seeing what they do about them. In a sense, my stories are psychological experiments I perform on my characters.
     

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