I was sucked into watching an episode of this UK drama called Misfits about a bunch of kids on probation doing community service. Now, there is one main character who is everything I dislike in a human being: unruly, selfish and self-centered, horrifically insensitive, vulgar, cruel, and he won’t shut up. Yet, he manages small moments where the facade shifts, like a break in the clouds, and another self peeks through. On the surface, this character has absolutely no redeeming qualities. He would most likely fall under the Chaotic Neutral category: disruptive and unreliable.
Is it possible to write a character you wish to strangle?
I’ve seen characters that are dreadful in their own way: Horace Slughorn and Delores Umbridge (J.K. Rowling) or Kyle Haven (Robin Hobb). But, I love to hate them as I read and I can imagine them being fun to write.
There has to be something that causes a strong reaction in a reader–either positive or negative–to a character. But is it on the wrong end if the negative reaction is in the writer? Is it weird to think about this kind of stuff–particularly when I don’t currently have a character who is this way?
Maybe I need therapy. Yes, doc. There is something bothering me: I hate my character. He’s a flaming jackass. What can I do?
A bottle of wine? A hammer for the PC? I don’t see that going over particularly well. But it isn’t like there is a professional counselor taking on the weighty responsibility for dealing with mad authors and their characters…