My current WIP is, for once, not Post-Apocalyptic. It’s just regular Apocalyptic. The main character is a seventeen year old named Cassidy and she’s only about seventy five percent sure she’ll live to see eighteen.
As I’ve been writing her story, one thing has become increasingly obvious about her: she’s not soft, not particularly nice at times and most of all, not girly. On a scale from Bella to Katniss, she’s definitely on the Katniss side of things, perhaps even more so. She doesn’t have a cute younger sister to take care of, either.
It makes me a little nervous. What if readers don’t connect with her? I totally think she’s awesome (well, for the most part; she has her problems, believe me) but I’m not buying the book. People might not like someone who stifles their emotions and can be cold and calculating. She may not be boring, but who wants to read about someone they don’t care about?
Still, I’m not going to drastically alter her personality since without it, pretty much nothing would happen. Cassidy is the driving force behind most of what happens because she is driven, fierce and she won’t sit around waiting for problems to solve themselves. I’d hate to lose any part of her.
So what are your thoughts on the matter? Do you have any characters you’re worried people won’t empathize with?
I think readers are far more likely to sympathize with a realistic, flawed character, than a perfect one.ReplyDelete
The great thing about a character like this is that they lots of room to grow to love people. the character in my current WIP tries not love anyone. She thinks she can do everything herself, but in the end she finds that she really did need help and people loved her all along. Just keep writing and keep it real, you'll get there :)ReplyDelete
If you connect with the character, that'll show through. And if one person (you) connects, then others will, too.ReplyDelete
I seem to remember reading that Jane Austen commented that no one would like her Emma, but she liked her immensely. Seems like Emma has done rather well over the last couple (hundred) years.
I guess so long as Cassidy sometimes makes mistakes / has to deal with the consequences of her actions, that will be a good opportunity for you to twist the knife and make her suffer. Noble suffering is a sympathetic trait, I think. So long as she's not perfect perfect, tough is good. We need more tough women characters to look up to. I say keep going.ReplyDelete
Elizabeth Twist: Writer, Plague Enthusiast
As long as we know WHY she is that way, and that she IS hiding her true emotions. It'd be harder to relate to a cold fish, but if she's reserved for a good reason, and you hint at that, I think readers can still relate. Rah for tougher female protagonists!ReplyDelete
I really believe you have to write from your heart. Once you're finished you can go back over your work with a critical eye and see how the character and her thoughts and actions "feel" to you.ReplyDelete
If YOU truly love the character and relate to her, you'll definitely find readers who will too. But not every reader is going to love her--and that's okay, because we writers can't (and shouldn't try to) please all readers. It would drive us crazy trying to do that--and compromise our writing as well. :)
Best of luck! :D
Flaws make the character more compelling.ReplyDelete