Thursday, September 10, 2015

Main Characters You Love to Hate

Main characters - they're the heart of your story, the stuff that pulls your readers in. Only, what if you hate him or her?

I've been told - many times - that a main character must be likable. Like Johnny down the street whom you hope to get to know better, your main character, though weighed down with a few flaws - must be likable.

And while I agree in general with this come-from, you may want to take a good look at your main character and decide if they're too likable.

Some main characters in books are, quite frankly, too good to be true. No one but the most perfect man that walked the earth, could be that good.

In one of my books, the Feast: A Parable of the Ring, one reviewer called my main character "whiny." Virginia, with her whiny flaw, made it a difficult read for this particular reader. Other readers haven't seemed to have a problem with this character, who was introduced in book one - Conquering Your Goliaths: A Parable of the Five Stones.

I have since looked over book two and wondered what I could have done to make the main character less whiny. And then it occurred to me, that even though Virginia is a nice person, wanting to improve her life as well as her relationship with God, she still has this irritating way about her when things aren't going her way.

And I thought to myself, have I ever whined?

Well, the answer was obvious. I had.

So I haven't softened anything in book two - I've kept the all whiny Virginia the same, though you have to know, that even in Virginia's case, there is room for improvement - improvement that comes later.

By book three, The Gift: A Parable of the Key, the final book in the Parable series, Virginia has worked through her whine - just as many of us work through the obstacles in our own life.

And that's just as it should be.



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