Pulling Off Unlikable Main Characters (Part 2) - Writing Redeemable Villains and other Unlikable Characters

By Lidija Hilje.

In Pulling Off Unlikable Main Characters (Part 1) - Writing Irredeemable Villains, we discussed different types of unlikable characters, and some of the techniques that can be used in writing irredeemable villains.

In this article, we will explore the techniques a writer can use when writing redeemable villains and other unlikable characters, such as oddballs, weirdoes and jerks.

Writing unlikable but redeemable characters is not any easier than pulling off irredeemable psycho-villains, but there are more tactics available to make sure the reader will keep turning the pages.

Pulling Off Unlikable Main Characters (Part 1) - Writing Irredeemable Villains

By Lidija Hilje.

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of writing a likable protagonist. As readers, we have to like a character to be willing to devote several hours of our precious time to read their story. We want to feel invested in them and care about their story enough to be tempted to read a three-hundred-page book.

An unlikable main character can kill the book. If we hate the protagonist, we are almost sure to lose interest and put the book down before finishing it. Not to mention not recommending it to other readers.

But what if you want to write a character that isnt necessarily likable? Even more so, a character that is repugnant or revolting? Can it be pulled off, and how?

Wringing out that Soggy Middle: What to do when Act II Falls Apart

By Bethany Tucker.

Stuck in the middle of your draft? Already written to the end but that section between the beginning and the end feels stale, limp, or messy? Beta readers giving up in the middle? You might have a case of what’s called a “soggy middle.”

Soggy middles are Act II problems where the tension is low, the plot meanders, or the reader, and maybe the writer has trouble staying with the story. Symptoms are lack of interest, passive shrugging, and dusty pages.

However, the solution is simple. Want the secret? Fall in love.

Death by Character Questionnaire?

By Kyrstin Oke.

Quick! Take our character questionnaire to discover everything about your character today! It’s as simple as answering 100 questions that will only take around 20 minutes to 2 hours to complete, (depending upon your decisiveness), and you’ll know everything you’ll ever need to about your character and writing will be so much easier! Remember, if you don’t know a character’s favourite sandwich, favourite colour, their shoe size or social security number, you don’t know the character at all!
Perhaps I’m just a cynic, but I abhor character questionnaires with every fibre of my being.
Always have, probably always will.

How Death and The Dervish, by Mesa Selimovic, helped me fix my plot holes

By Dalia Lepa.

            “That was how he took revenge on the world, by not showing his bitterness.”

Oh, you lover of books. You live in an era where the modern day attention span is about five minutes.
Do you remember Mesa Selimovic? Probably not—well he wrote a critically acclaimed novel circa 1966 called, Death and the Dervish. Sure, it was written in the “stone-age”, in a different time, for a different audience. Along comes me, present day impatient Dalia, who can literally summarize the whole plot in about 3 sentences. Don’t believe me? Let me try.

Tips and Tricks to Create Suspense Inspired by ‘Where the Forest Meets the Stars’ by Glendy Vanderah

By Lidija Hilje.

Novels are basically all about Q and A; the author poses questions and, with some delay, answers them. In that period of delay lies suspense—a feeling of anticipation, apprehension and anxiety the reader experiences while waiting for the questions to be answered.

The success of a book depends on this feeling; it’s what makes the reader turn the pages. So its always good to explore new ways of drawing more suspense out of your writing.

Sharpen Your Main Character by Using Books on Writing

By Max Vonne. 

Making sure that readers connect with your main character is a critical point of focus for your writing.  This is an especially tough challenge for new writers.  Thankfully, there are some great tools available to us.  

In my last article, I spoke about CritiqueMatch.com, which I’m just going to briefly mention here.  Getting your work in front of others and getting their feedback is key to understanding if your main character is resonating.  Other writers will not only tell you if they like the character but will also make suggestions on how to improve him/her.  I can’t imagine developing my characters without this process.