View Full Version : Hating Characters
April 4th, 2006, 02:03 PM
At the moment I am ploughing through editing a few works, and as I read the stories back I find some of my characters I hate reading nearly as much as I hated writing them. Two in my last work I found horrible! They bored me silly and annoyed the hell out of me, yet I found I put more effort into the creation of them just because of that reason.
Does this mean I created a deeper or better character? I haven't got a clue. I only know that they were and are important to the story, so I couldn't ditch them or better yet killed them off (though I was sorely tempted to do so with one of them)
Has any one else had this feeling, or are you in love with all your characters?
April 4th, 2006, 02:14 PM
I've run into a character or twelve I didn't care for. It's hard to twist and force them into a shape that fits you instead of fits the story. So I just left them as is. Even if I didn't like them. Some of those stories I abandoned and never returned to finish them as I could get involved enough with the characters.
In one story, I didn't like the lead at all and kept the story line, but change him to a her and the story was much better for it. It hurt like hell to trash 20,000 words of a novel, but I'm so much happier with the final result. Sometimes stories need a lobotomy in order to turn out right.
April 4th, 2006, 02:44 PM
Yeah, the characters I don't really like require more effort:
(a) I have to be careful to be fair to them, or the story will be unbalanced. People I like are always right, etc. That can't be good for the story.
(b) I also find it harder to understand their motivations. Sure, I know the basics. But trying to figure out the body language...
I'm lucky in that I don't dislike many of my characters.
April 4th, 2006, 04:39 PM
Answer requires distinguishing characters whom I do not admire and characters that I do not think come across on the written page as I intended them to come across. Characters I do not admire are essential to the story they appear in and require a faithful presentation of their viewpoint, otherwise they slip into stereotype and, as you wrote, become very, very boring.
Characters I could not get right on the printed page more often than not cause the story to die a natural death and are then banished to the ninth ditch of the 8th circle of hell.
April 5th, 2006, 01:04 AM
I had a major falling out with one of the main characters in one of my novels. I had submitted it to a few places with no results, and put it away for a year or more, and when I went back to look it over I realized this guy had the same solution to almost every problem-- kill everyone in the room. Then walk out with a 'poor me, I can't stop killing because I enjoy it too much' attitude, which pretty much disappears by the end of the next page.
I'm thinking; 'OMG, I wrote an action movie.'
It's still in the back of my file cabinet. 'Easy' solutions to problems are not very dramatic.
As for annoying characters, I've written a few, usually they end up having a very miserable time in my stories. I do try to aviod the stereotypical bad guys, I've met enough of the real thing to know the difference.
April 5th, 2006, 12:08 PM
It hurt like hell to trash 20,000 words of a novel, but I'm so much happier with the final result.
That is more than I have ever trashed in one go!
Sometimes stories need a lobotomy in order to turn out right.
I work on the principle that most stories have sections that ought to be cut. It is usually just a question of sharpening the knife and setting down to the job.
April 5th, 2006, 01:57 PM
I took out an entire character in a rewrite last year; after spending a few years away from the manuscript, I realized that he wasn't remotely important to the story. I did like him, though. I may bring him back in a sequel.
And I have one character who is extremely likeable in the first book, but who turns out to be a murderous, two-faced, traitorous prick in the second. He only recently turned into this -- I wrote him into that role about a month ago. I hope that the audience (assuming I have one someday :rolleyes: ) will be as disappointed as the main character when they find out that they've been betrayed. "Man, I thought we were friends!" :eek:
April 5th, 2006, 06:16 PM
Hate is such a strong word.
I have characters that I get bored with. Usually this is because in a flurry of keypounding I haven't bothered to really think about a character I'm introducing. Instead I simply "insert villian X or love interest Y" and go on.
This thread has got be thinking though. If I don't like one of my characters, maybe it's because I'm not spending enough time on him or her.
One thing I'm trying to spend a little more time on is developing more likeable characters (noting that 'likeable' in this context is not synonamous with 'admirable').
April 6th, 2006, 12:50 PM
If I didn't like a character -- like as in enjoy writing, not admire -- I would get rid of that character and make a new one for whatever role the character was serving. Of course, trouble writing a character so he or she comes out the way I want on the page is a different issue.
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