Conversation questions: Should fiction writers create only characters that readers will like? If we compose unlikeable characters, does it imply were composing unlikeable books or stories? As a reader, do you need to like a character in order to enjoy a book?
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My writer friend doesnt like the characters I compose about. Fair. Theyre impolite and unrefined. They cruelly mock and brawl with each other. Theyre grotesque sometimes, even when I dont try to make them so. Theyre definitely the type of individuals he doesnt like in real life, so why would he like them in stories?
On the reading side, do you require to like a character in order to enjoy a book? Or can you like a book in spite of its unlikeable character( s)? Can you relate to or identify with an unlikeable lead character and for that reason still like the book?
Likeability is a word that turns up typically in fiction. Should we compose just characters a reader will like? If we write unlikeable characters, does it suggest were composing an unlikeable story or book?
And what the hell is it that makes a character unlikeable or likeable to begin with?
As a reader, I do not require to like the characters I check out about. There are lots of real-life individuals I like. I dont read books to find imaginary friends
And for some authors that might be the secret. To write a successful unlikeable character, you must like, and even love, that character yourself, despite his/her flaws
And for me, thats enough.
But damn, what a book.
WriteByNight writing coach and co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has actually blogged about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others
Just Recently on Yak Babies we discussed George Saunderss story “Sea Oak,” which consists of a couple of characters who are challenging to root for. I d really much struggle to like them if I satisfied them in real life. I like them on the page; they make me laugh.
Anyhow, I like my characters. In all their problematic and grotesque un-glory. Partly because of it, really.
Maybe its simply him. You cant reach every reader.
Oh, and by the method, hes killed two or three other people along the way.
As a reader, do you require to like a character in order to delight in a book? My writer buddy doesnt like the characters I compose about. Theyre definitely the kind of people he doesnt like in genuine life, so why would he like them in stories?
On the reading side, do you require to like a character in order to take pleasure in a book? Or can you like a book regardless of its unlikeable character( s)?
Im OK with the truth that my characters are unlikeable to my writer buddy. He likewise does not relate to or identify with them, and thats a problem.
Not likeable characteristics.
With its three extremely flawed characters full of unlikeable traits. Im not sure I can state I like them. I like the book.