Likeable Characters

I’m concerned that my characters are too likeable.  That I’ve become the Pollyanna of writers.

Rick?  Occasionally he’s shallow (well, duh!  He’s a guy!), but he’s growing fast.  Sabrina?  Bit part, grew into somebody so likeable that my female readership rebel if Rick isn’t off being faithful and celibate, even if she’s with somebody else.

Chai?  You weren’t supposed to like her but she’s growing on you.  Adeline?  Haughty and abrasive, and suddenly she’s vulnerable and open and we like her too.  Adeline was originally supposed to make a pass a Rick that he deflected–see, he doesn’t sleep with anybody who offers–but decided not to.

Lucas?  Should be prickly and a little distant but isn’t; could have a racial chip on his shouldn’t but doesn’t.  Ellie?  How could you not love Ellie.  Even bit part players like Jerome Collins (owner of the Low Country Gallery) and the sheriff are likeable.

The lawyer turns out to be a caricature, but not a despicable one.   Crap, I’ve even created a likeable lawyer.

In the entire novel, the only person that you don’t like is JD.  Well, the young woman who is working at the gallery in Hilton Head, but you’re never going to see her again.

Despite being a crashing introvert and spending a lot of my life avoiding others, I have this immutable tendency to see the best in people.  It bleeds into my characters.

110,000 words, one 2-bit villain, everybody else one out on the island sitting around the campfire and singing Kum ba ya.  Shit, I even like Kum ba ya!.

I suck at this writing business.

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7 thoughts on “Likeable Characters

  1. My fortune cookie tonight said, “If you understand what you’re doing, you’re not learning anything.” Apropos?

    Funny post, but I have one disagreement. At this point in the story, the jury’s still out on Rick for this reader. He’s just funny enough–and most/much of the humor is self-deprecating–and he does thoughtful things often enough, that I’m staying open-minded in spite of his Chapter 1 shenanigans. The fun is as much in waiting for/watching the reluctant hero grow and change as it is in the mystery of where’s George Foster.

    The term Mary Sue originated in fanfic criticism to describe (usually) a heroine who is “too perfect.” Neither Adeline, Sabrina, nor Chai feel like Mary Sue’s to me. In fact, with varying degrees of likability, they feel real.

  2. I’m most of the way through your first novel now, and reading this post made me think more about why I’m enjoying it tremendously. The characters pull some very dumb stunts and are quite a bit less than perfect at times. They have bite. Didn’t see that so much in Strange Bedfellows, and not so much in Avalon either (though so far I am missing it less in Avalon).

  3. Copying this post from Denise on Facebook, since she’s too shy to post here:

    Just for the record there is at least one of your female readers that is not rebeling at the idea of Rick not being “faithful” to Sabrina! The lovely little trist between Rick and Chai is what finally caused him to become a realistic and interesting guy that I can finally relate to. If your female readers want to read a sappy romance novel there are plenty of Danielle Steeles out there for them (gag). As for villians in your books, you are correct, there are not many but I have enjoyed them anyway!
    Look to your dark side, Rusty, to conjour yourself a nasty….you can do it!

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