Have you ever insulted or irritated someone unintentionally? My daughter faced this same situation this past weekend. She said something that to someone else may have sounded a little rude, yet she didn’t mean it that way. It was just her way of talking. Something she would say to me and I wouldn’t think a thing about it, but to someone else, not necessarily the case. I told her, not everyone has as warped a sense of humor as I do, and unfortunately, I’ve passed that on to her.
It got me to thinking about my characters, though. Do I do that with them as well? Is my own sometimes warped personality coming out in my characters? Do I sometimes make them say or do something that might offend or irritate my readers? Maybe I do. I know I’ve read books before where I just wanted to strangle the main character. They just rubbed me the wrong way. I couldn’t get into the story at all because every time I turned around, they were driving me nuts to the point that I didn’t even want to read the book. I would just put it down and not pick it up again.
So, how do we make our characters into something that doesn’t annoy the crap out of others? I think there has to be a quality that makes them loveable. Just because a person is annoying, there has to be something about them that you like or you lose interest. I’m hoping that that was the problem with the book I read. Maybe I couldn’t find anything to like. If I had liked them a little bit, I’m sure I wouldn’t have been so annoyed with them.
That’s the main thing I want to avoid in my writing. I don’t want to have annoying characters, but I sure don’t want to have a character that’s not the least bit likeable.
How do you make a character likeable? Good question. Well, I think you have to look at your friends and family to find the answer. What characteristics do they possess that make you like them? Not just the ordinary “because they are nice”. I want more than that. Why are they nice? What do they do that makes them nice? Do they rescue puppies from the pound? Do they never buy paper plates because they are concerned about the environment? Do they always pick up a friend to drive them to work because that person doesn’t have a car or can’t afford gas? Everyone does something that makes them different from everyone else. To me, that is what makes them special, makes them likeable. Those are the qualities we need to instill in our characters to make them well rounded and loveable.
What do you think? Leave me a comment and let me know.