Have Your Pie and Eat It Too

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I like all my characters…even the ones who are there to create friction. They all have something about them that I think is redeemable. My Beta readers haven’t felt the same way about one of my characters. S/he is the one I feel the most sympathetic for (and, no, she’s not the protagonist), but everyone else seems to hate her.

I know not every reader is going to love all my characters the way I do, but to have every Beta reader despise the character I think has gotten the shaft the entire story…I’m obviously not doing something (well, lots of somethings) right.

So, I’m trying to fix it. S/he obviously has to stay marginalized and the source of friction. S/he can’t out shine Julia, but s/he can be more sympathetic than she is now. I’ve taken all the scenes in which s/he plays an active role (not ones where s/he is thought or talked about) and strung them together. To my surprised, these scenes were less than 50 pages, less than a fourth of the book. For such a small part, s/he’s evoking some strong emotions.

I’m going through just her/his scenes and trying to pull out the character I know and love. I have limited options because of POV, but it’s a good challenge that is adding more descriptions…not a bad thing.

I want my characters to create friction AND be beloved…is that like having my Thanksgiving pie and eating it too?

Have your Beta readers or writing group critiquers ever had the opposite reaction than you had to your characters? What did you do?

The Empty Pen will be stuffing herself this Thursday and plans to be too much in a food comma to pen a blog post. To my American readers, happy Thanksgiving. To my international readers, have a great Thursday!

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4 thoughts on “Have Your Pie and Eat It Too

  1. bethfinke

    Have you read “Little Children” by Tom Perroda? Forgive spelling of last name, just mentioning that book as there was not one character to like in the entire story. But I loved the book!

  2. Yes, it’s happned to me. They found her cold. I couldn’t figure out why, as to me she was so compassionate. It took time, but I finally realized it was because I related too well with her, that when it came to writing I was holding back without even realizing it. She suffered a lot, and I guess I did’t want to go through it, hence the writing came out cold. Amazing the things our subconscious does without even realizing it. Good luck, hope you figure it out.

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