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September 11th, 2006, 11:15 AM
Writing is a peculiar process in that it puts people telepathically (linguistipathically?) in contact with one another. What one writes - and subsequently reads - is a long corridor of emotion that the characters must travel through to emerge at the end of the tale. In the process of this, readers and writers go along with them, sucked along the curves and lines of the words until the scene is over.

But for some people, they are natural jerks; people who make you cringe with a mere appearance. Such a thing happened yesterday. One of my characters got so fed up with two of my characters choosing to dominate the entire campfire discussion and taking it off on some pointless tangent that towards the end of it, he cut them off in a manner almost completely unlike him. Luckily he already evoked an impatience with idiots, so at least that was within his character. On retrospect, however, I realized that that was me talking through him.

The bottom line is that these two characters annoyed me to tears. I veered from the story today because I didn't want to encounter those two.

Has anyone else ever had that kind of visceral reaction to their characters? Either positive or negative?

September 11th, 2006, 11:22 AM
A few of my characters are starting to bore me. They are not unlike talking heads that follow the main character everywhere. Of course, it might be my attitude towards the whole book itself. It might be that it is not in a character sense, but in the whole sense. It might be that I am a bad writer, or it might be that that my characters are being this droll on purpose.

September 11th, 2006, 06:24 PM
...and I wonder why some people think writers are psychotic...:cool:

I have on occasion found some of the characters in my writing to be disagreeable, for whatever reason. It's usually an indication that the story is about to enter a death spiral, kind of like circling the drain except much less exciting to watch.

When I realize I'm at that point, I finish the story, "...And they all died suddenly when the meteor unexpectedly impacted the pacific basin. The end." Then I make a hard copy, and tear it up into little bitty bits.

My advice, and you can take it as lightly as you want: You can change the characters or you can change the story. If you can't do either of those, start something new.



September 15th, 2006, 06:25 PM
Ha! I had a similar experience the other day. My protagonist was listening to the inane witterings of a new character and she just suddenly stood and told the woman to shut up. My protag is never like that, so it was fairly disturbing, but it did give me a way to handle the situation she's stuck in, so I'm glad.

Michael B
September 16th, 2006, 04:35 AM
I have on occasion found some of the characters in my writing to be disagreeable, for whatever reason.
I have no problems with have disagreeable characters. In fact most of mine are flawed in some way and that can lead to them being unlikeable. Being secretive, deciding to take the law into their own hands and being arrogant to excess are just three flaws that I have used. In fact the only one hundred per cent nice persons are never the main character.

The only drawback is that my writing tends to come over as dark. No doubt I will write a nice fluffy story some day. Goodnes know when though.

September 17th, 2006, 01:31 AM
Has anyone else ever had that kind of visceral reaction to their characters? Either positive or negative?

Personally I think that this type of thing is really cool: if you play it the right way and use these reactions then you're churning out a pretty organic narrative (instead of a strictly-planned 'master's thesis'). The trick is to make sure that your reaction is relatively in-line with the one reacting. Then the reactor is reacting to the reactee because the reaction is natural to the reactor...


yes... writers are psychotic...

September 29th, 2006, 01:29 PM
There is nothing wrong with annoying characters as long as they are annoying to the right people, i.e. other characters. If they are annoying to the reader it might cause their eyes to glaze over, make them avoid reading sections with those characters, or worst of all, stop reading your story.

On the contrary, there are also characters that readers love to hate. A good antagonist might fit that description. It is a fine balance to strike.

In the example you described, I would ask if the tangential conversation is supposed to be interesting to the reader. If so, then let them ramble on until the other character tells them to shut up. You accomplish two things: One, you expand upon the story and/or build up supporting characters, and two, you establish that the other character has different interests or priorities and no patience for the current topic.

If not, you may risk annoying your reader, with negative consequences. A good story doesn't need irrelevant filler and should be avoided.