Sunday, October 25, 2009

If I don't like you I don't want to read about you

My daughter's watching a teenage show set in a high school while I'm in her room writing. She just said, there's not one girl at that school that I like.

There's at least one female character on the show I think is okay so I asked, "What about that one?"

My daughter said, "She's stupid." (The girl had been putting up with a really mean boyfriend for a long time, one that got her into big trouble.)

Perplexed I asked, "Then why watch the show?"

She said, "I like that they show real situations even though they're overboard." And even though she thinks all the characters are unlikeable.

If the TV were in my control, I'd turn it off or change the channel. If I were reading a book in which the characters annoyed me so much, I'd stop reading.

It's okay for the villain to annoy me in the show. In fact, I expect that to happen. But not the protagonists. I'm not into ditzy, TSTL people.

That said, I think almost everybody can have the occasional ditzy moment. Everybody can do something stupid every now and then. If not, then why would a supposedly intelligent human have an affair with a dangerous vampire? Vampire romance lovers overlook that.

When a hero or heroine is too silly, too stupid, or for any reason is unlikeable to the reader, the story falls flat. There are too many stories - movies and books - to waste time on one in which you can't care about the main character.

It should be easy to write about only likeable, lovable characters then, right?

I wish.

Writing is hard work. Not just the grammar or stringing words together. A lot of writers can write beautiful prose but their plots and characters fall flat. And vice versa.

Getting all the elements right takes practice. It takes a lot of perseverance. It helps to have a second pair of eyes and a second opinion.

Recent posts you might like to read:

Why Writers Should Be Like Zombies

Ghost Hunting at a Haunted Hotel

Welcome to the Spookiest Month of the Year (+ don't burn your Ouija Board!)

People Don't Fall Out of Trees - Without Reason 

I'm Part of a Tribe 

Big Brother Is Watching You - This Means You BLOGGERS!

Are You Writing Me Into Your Book?

Dont Give Up Too Early

Must Write Must Write Must Write!!!

You'll also want to see what Amarinda Jones, Anika Hamilton, Anny Cook,
Barbara Huffert, Brynn Paulin, Bronwyn Green, Dakota Rebel, Kelly Kirch,
Molly Daniels, Sandra Cox, Regina Carlysle, and Cindy Spencer Pape
are up to, so make sure to visit them also. :)


Clare Revell said...

I read one similar a couple months ago. Gave up as the characters were too stupid for words. The author kept mentioning the 2004 tsumani as did the characters.

But when the water suddenly receeded for no reason, after an alert had been issued, did they run inland? Uh no, they stood there watching it making comments about all the fishes they could see!

Linda Kage said...

What's even harder to accomplish when writing is making a character that EVERYONE wll like because different people get annoyed by different things. Sigh.

Regina Carlysle said...

Writing a likeable yet three dimensional character is hard work.

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