Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Problematic Characters (part 3)

So now you've written a problematic character into your story. How do you prevent that character from ruining your story? Very few people want to read about a character they hate unless there is something compelling about that character they can identify with in some way. For example, I experienced a story where the main character began as a rough, self-serving, violent person. Throughout the story, he remained the same, and by the end of the story, even though he had grown to care about one other individual, he was still a rough, violent person, and I considered him a psychopath—I literally hated this character and, as a result, I hated the entire story told around him. I felt absolutely no connection with that character, and because he didn't change, I remained disconnected from him the entire story. If you set your readers against a character to convince them he's a really serious villain, you need to provide them with a hook to keep them with you. It's a balancing act, because if the problematic character stays an unlikeable bad-guy the entire story, he'll easily become a one-dimensional villain. Your villain/problematic character needs development, and a hint towards redemption...

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