Quick Link: How to Keep Readers Happy When Your Character’s Unlikeable

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Have you read or seen Gone Girl? That is the kind of character you kind of like to hate. It is a different type of character but one that can be really interesting if done well. Holly Brown shares her thoughts on unlikeable characters and how to incorporate them into your story. Head over to Writer Unboxed and check it out! 

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How to Keep Readers Happy When Your Character’s Unlikeable

Please welcome Holly Brown as our guest today. Holly is the author of Don’t Try to Find MeA Necessary End, and—just this month!—This is Not Over. In addition to being a novelist, she is also (in no particular order): a wife, mother, marriage and family therapist, poker enthusiast, resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, member of the SF Writers Grotto, lover of some incredibly shameful reality TV, devotee of NPR (she owes a debt of gratitude for inspiring more than one novel), and a believer that people should always be willing to make mistakes and always be the first to apologize for them. As a writer, she tends to be inspired by contemporary events and phenomena. She likes to take an emotionally charged situation and then imagine the people within it. That’s where her background in human dynamics comes into play, and where the fun begins.

I like unlikable characters, dammit! Always have, even before I was writing them myself, and they can always use a champion.

Connect with Holly on her blog, Bonding Time on Psych Central, and on Facebook.

How to Keep Readers Happy When Your Character’s Unlikeable

Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl broke the glass ceiling by allowing female characters to be as unlikeable as males have often been in fiction. For too long, women writers in particular were hamstrung by the need for relatability, which could lead to muted characters, dulled at the edges, your stereotypical women in jeopardy, more acted upon than acting. Here are some ideas on how to build vivid, complex characters who are as satisfying to read as they are to write.

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