Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Likeable Characters vs. Unlikeable Characters

I had a friend read Blessed, and one of his first comments was that he didn't like Thomas (one of the MC).  I weirdly felt like I had done my job.  Because Thomas is really just a big baby.  He's selfish and sulky--mainly because he's a young man, and he's immature.  He's not supposed to be perfect.  He's got some deep-rooted psychological issues.  But I love him.  My husband loves him.  Because we know him really well.

The other MC, Joane, is just sort of blah to me.  She's nice, and she certainly grows a lot by the end of the novel.  But she's very vanilla.  I think what happens to her is more interesting than she herself is.  My favorite character is Thomas's brother, but I think so far I'm the only one that's read it that feels that way.

My husband, he is probably most intrigued by Marie, Thomas's wife and his personal antagonist (I wouldn't call her an antagonist in the traditional sense).  I really don't care for her, but a lot of people who've read the MS are interested in her.  You hear a lot at the beginning about what a nightmare she is (from Thomas, natch), and then she surprises you.  But I still get sick of her pretty fast.

And then there's the main antagonist, Richard, who everyone agrees is the worst.  And, yet, people tell me gleefully that they "like" him.  He's someone to root against.  He is not doing a half-assed job of being bad.  He is putting his whole ass into being a rat bastard, and he's really good at it.

Interesting to reflect on the lives that characters take on once their outside of your head.  I heard a story about Toni Morrison at a conference, listening to papers on her various works.  When asked how she felt about them, she said that they were wonderful, but that she had no idea what books those people were talking about.  It's disorienting to have a product of your head reflected back at you through someone else's eyes.

(And, yes, I have people other than friends and family reading the story.  I like my honest critiques as well as my flattering ones.)

No comments:

Post a Comment