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Writing a Main Character Who Isn’t ‘Nice’. Thoughts?

Home / Forums / List of Forums / Young Adult / Writing a Main Character Who Isn’t ‘Nice’. Thoughts?

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  • #3137

    laura
    Keymaster

    YA author Stephanie Campbell is discussing this over on the blog today. What are your thoughts, should the protagonist always be nice? Or should we strive to be more realistic?

    Writing a Main Character Who Isn’t Nice vs. Keeping A Character Realistic | YA BOOK GIVEAWAY!!

    #5357

    cambriacovell
    Participant

    I think a character doesn’t always have to be nice. Scarlet O Hara who was a book character long before the popular movie of Gone With the Wind came out was as selfish as they came and sometimes not at all likable but she is still incredibly popular today. I definitely think that if you’re going to write a character that isn’t nice the character it should be layered though so people have some emotional investment otherwise they might be completely turned off by a main character that isn’t ‘nice’.

    #5358

    rachel
    Participant

    Ah, this is a difficult thing to do. In my first ms, my main character was nice and innocent. My beta readers loved her. In my second ms, my main character was a human hating/hunting mermaid. The feedback was not so sweet. They liked the story and the sisters’ character depth and even the love interest, but seriously didn’t like the main character. I had to step back and do some thinking. Try to learn how to write from the monsters POV while causing the reader to care about said monster.

    After months of reflection and frustration, I think I figured it out. I cut the human bashing out of the beginning of the book and added a few tender personal qualities.

    I think it’s like real life. When you meet someone, if you see their good side first, and begin to invest in them and their friendship, then when they begin to reveal the not so perfect sides of themselves, you can handle it better, understand their reasons, and still love them unconditionally.

    #5359

    iliadfan
    Participant

    To me a character who is nuanced and has depth is far more fascinating than one who is “nice”. Nice is fine, but I can take it or leave it, depending on other character traits.

    I’ve talked to people who don’t want to read a book about someone they wouldn’t be friends with. Depends on the reader, I guess.

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