Sometimes our characters are unlikable, even to us. I had one such character a while back that irritated me on a daily basis. I just couldn’t connect for some reason.
Truth was, I just plain didn’t understand her. If I didn’t like or understand her, how could anyone else?
I had Unlikable Character Syndrome. After one rejection letter, tears and of course lots of chocolate I began to feel better. Probably was the chocolate, but I decided to get help.
We shall call this character Alma for now. No, that’s not her name. Alma had issues, she liked chocolate just like me and stood up for the underdog. Still she fell flat.
Why? I didn’t understand her motivations and core self. What made her who she was?
Here are some steps I took to make Alma more likable and cure Unlikable Character Syndrome in my novel:
*I found a picture of my Alma on the internet and printed it out.
*I followed the interview process for my character at My Book Therapy’s website. This particular step made a huge difference. Discovering the lie my character believed shaped her motivations and actions for the story.
*I made a list of all the reasons I would be Alma’s friend in real life. I took this list and used it to weave in character traits that are admirable early in the story.
*For every flaw or bad thing shared about Alma in my book, I made sure there were at least 2 positive things about her to offset it.
*I made her empathetic by showing that she faces live just like me.
*Early in the story I show her compassion and courage.
*I give her a few unexpected characteristics that would make a reader smile.
*Use situations to show her vulnerability early in my novel.
*Most important, I determined the kind of chocolate she loved. What? Don’t you think that is important?
What qualities do you like in a character?