Unlikeable Characters? By Kate Hewitt
As a writer I have been accused of creating characters that are too unlikeable. In fact, my editor is often asking me to ‘tone down’ my heroines in particular, as readers need to identify and root with them more. I absolutely agree with this, but I also believe that characters need to be flawed to be relatable. Have you ever been annoyed by the cute-as-a-button heroine of a novel whose only flaws are freckles on her nose or a tendency to care too much?
I enjoy the challenge of writing about deeply flawed and human people. People who struggle and fear and hate, but also who are ultimately redeemed. It has been interesting reading some of the reviews of When He Fell, because many readers seem to dislike one of the main characters, Maggie and Joanna. Some people like Joanna and hate Maggie, and some people hate Maggie and like Joanna! I’m actually pleased about that, because it shows that readers can relate to at least one of them.
My editor has said that many female readers judge heroines far more harshly than they do heroes, something I’ve found to be true as a writer—and in real life. Women tend to judge other women more than they judge men, which is another reason why I like to write about flawed characters, and flawed women in particular. I want to challenge readers to think about why they’re reacting to a character the way they are, why they are condemning their actions rather than empathizing with them. We all make grievous mistakes. We all struggle with negative emotions. As a reader I am willing to follow a character down a dark path as long as he or she learns from their mistakes and is redeemed, at least in part, by the end. I believe the characters are redeemed at the end of When He Fell, although their redemption comes at a high price. What about you? Do you enjoy reading about flawed characters? Is there a particular character trait or action that will turn you off a book completely?
WHEN HE FELL
The powerfully gripping new book from USA Today bestselling author Kate Hewitt.
Josh and Ben are nine years old and best friends, until a single, careless act in the school playground destroys the lives of both families – and wrenches their small Manhattan school apart.
As both mothers Maddie and Joanna try to find out what really happened between the boys, they discover the truth is far more complicated and painful than either of them could have ever realised... with lasting repercussions for both families.
And when tragedy strikes again in the most unexpected of ways, the lives of these two women will be changed once more, and this time forever.
When He Fell explores the issues of parental responsibility and guilt, and whether there are some acts that human nature just cannot forgive...
Kate Hewitt is the author of over 40 novels of women’s fiction and romance. She loves telling an emotional story in a variety of genres, and has been nominated for the Romance Writers of America RITA Award twice. An American ex-pat, she lives in the Cotswolds of England with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever. You can follow her adventures in village life on her blog, http://www.acumbrianlife.blogspot.co.uk
Giveaway: (A paperback copy of This Fragile Life – Kate's other book)