Wanting to kill the not-so darlings

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…

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