Are you put off reading a book if you dislike the characters?Are you put off reading a book if you dislike the characters? Susan #questionnaire
Must admit that hasn’t happened yet .
Yes all the time .
I am put off if I struggle with a name.
No, with the DI Kim Stone series her sergeant Bryant irritates me but the series is so good I won’t stop reading.
I’ve never experienced that.
It is a great aspect of the book for me. For to loathe someone in the book, the author has done a great job.
No , I love to write a character that really gets under you’re skin , some of them are created to hate ?. X
@Cheryl you certainly succeeded ?
I like to dislike the baddies. The worse they are the better!
yes im trying to recall abook i recently read whose main detective bugged me no end but did finish the book despite this
Yes. And films for the same reason.
Nope. I like the unlikable. If the main character is daft, frustrating and annoying then I can’t cope, especially if the book is written in 1st person and we have to be inside their head the entire time.
No just want them to suffer badly ?
@Susan Characters don’t put me off. It’s badly written/unrealistic plot lines, but yet I still connect with the characters.
Not necessarily. If they are supposed to be hated then you quite often want them to come to a really grisly end!! 🙂
No. What does stop me reading is when I couldn’t care less about what happens to them.
No, I think you’ve got to have a bit of love or hate for all characters. Either way, it makes them more realistic to me.
If they’re interesting – no. Boring characters are another matter!
@Diana when they’re wooden
@Ellie One dimensional, unbelievable & inconsistent are the worst.
@Diana Feel free to read the characters in my novel! ?
I’ve read books where I’ve really really disliked a character, not necessarily because of the crime / acts they are committing but the way they are written.
If a character is meant to be vile – arrogant, narcissistic, cruel, psychotic, a liar, a cheat etc and they are described so, that’s great. I feel their personality.
Unfortunately I have read books where the main protagonist, usually meant to be the hero or heroine / victim, comes over as shallow and unlikeable in general. This completely turns me off the book.
These impressions come solely from the authors words, usually whilst they are relating the thoughts and motives of a characters behaviour and rightly or wrongly, it always makes me wonder if that’s what the author is like in real life – maybe some of their personality is coming through.
Now and then I want the good guy/ woman to end up in a bad way, just because I dislike them so much, which is not the point of the story !!
@Patricia very good point
Yes if I can’t connect with the characters if they are shallow or too violent
So long as I like some of them. I’m not sure I’d want to read a book full of people I don’t like!
Absolutely – yes! Characters are key for me and the reason I get hooked on series. I get so involved with the characters they’re like family, and then I start worrying the author may feel they’ve gone as far as they can with them and want to write about something else! My little booky nightmare!! ?
No, I think it is interesting- but I find they maybe have to be relatable….
@Alexina, relatable, yes! I have always been told I think like a man and that my male characters are spot on. I don’t think like a man because I’m a woman but what they mean is I have a masculine mind. Thus, one of my protags was favoured by men and women who are similar to me, other women HATED her. I have not met a single male reader who was not on board with Skyla.
@Emma I liked Skyla. But yes she wasn’t your typical female if you want to stereotype- but I could relate to her and her situation- but saying that I don’t know if I actually liked her ?
@Alexina, I’m glad you said that because I thought about all the stereotypes in fiction and the real women I know and decided to make Sky as selfish and real as possible. So many novels where the backdrop is a terrible place, have likable female protagonists. Why? I would be nutsy if I lived in these horrible worlds. I am a bit bonkers as it is from living in this one! ?
@Emma ???me too- all the best people are!
I don’t have to really like them to read the book, but if I actually dislike the main characters then it would put me off.
Hunter or hunted? I don’t have to like them, especially if they are the criminal element. but I do need to have some empathy with, or understanding of, them. Without that I don’t care what happens. My pet hate is the damaged detective.
@Jan my detective battles a terminal illness and keeps it secret?
I was thinking more of the ‘tortured soul’ variety. Been used too many times now.
Plus he’s older than the average DCI
Oh god no! Hate tortured soul with a passion
@Jan so mine aren’t like that
God, I hope not. My protagonists are all despicable sociopaths.
@Liz your books are fantastic. I did think of the characters you created and they are superb as “love to hate” characters.
@Liz I have one character who is the worst mother going! Thank God I killed her off
I think you can dislike them and still find them interesting if you have some background on how their character was formed
@Michael that’s exactly what I did! Killed her in beginning then explored her background in timeline from her perspective
Yes, my book introduces the characters and then goes into their histories and what events shaped them. It makes them a lot more relatable to
Again, authentic characters can’t put me off. Even if they’re nasty. But complex is okay. For instance one book I read last year had the most authentic baddie because he had a dog. So although he felt no empathy he was able to use the dog to appear normal. He used women too, to show his status, to charm other women he killed, as those to say look I’m likable I just enjoy sex. Dead Wrong by AJ Thomas if you’re interested.
@Louise that sounds interesting.
No. I love hating them.
@Emmy have you read Death Dolls? Interesting feedback from one reader, she really liked one character who I thought everyone would dislike! Love feedback like that, really helps as a writer.
@Simon How cool!
@Emmy let me know if you want a copy, I’ll send you a bookfunnel code ?
@Simon Thanks. I still need to read your other one I bought first. I’m sadly only getting through a novel a month on bedtime reads.
@Emmy once upon a time ?
Absolutely. For me I have to identify/care about them or I lose interest and won’t invest in them if they’re part of a series.
Yes, for example the ‘Girl on a Train’ main character. I found her very irritating.
me too. I was very frustrated with her behaviour. I felt the same way about Rebecca (Jack Caffrey’s fling) in The Birdman. Such a dense and reckless character. I was willing her to suffer for her stupidity, ?
Yes, the main character in Woman in the Window. I found her irritating beyond belief and couldn’t finish the book.
@Carole I didn’t finish it either.
@Susan I really tried but couldn’t force myself to read any further than halfway.
@Carole confused because TWIW is marketed as having a great twist??
@Ellie it maybe does have a great twist. I had no interest in how it ended, it just didn’t grab my attention.
@Susan ah okay!
@Ellie I thought the plot was ponderous and predictable. Perhaps there was a twist but I was too bored with the book to read on and find out.
Yes, I started The Colour of Bee Markham’s Murder and disliked all of the characters. Embarrassed to say I left it at 30%. I hate not finishing a book
I need to care about, if not actually like, at least one character.
As long as I can connect to them I’m golden. I don’t necessarily have to like them ?
Yes but only once. I stopped reading Karin Slaughter Grant County series because I detested Lena
@Keith how could you detest Lina
@Margaret she was just rude and a because what she went through felt she had a right to. We all have to deal with shit
I would be concerned if I liked all the characters in crime novels…
Nope. Only if the spelling & grammar was dire.
No: if it’s part of the story: so be it!
I’ve got to like the “goodies” even if they have issues. If they irritate me, then bye bye.
Didn’t like this book woman in the window!! Yes irritating!!!
worst book I read a while ago was not a crime novel living apart together oh my god awful
I have to like the main characters and tend to want the good guys to be blokes for some reason lol.
Yes to open a book and meet old friends is wonderful.
No, as long as they’re compelling characters.
Yep if it’s the main character
Once; American Psycho
I could happily slap the face off John Rebus. But I love the books and keep on reading 🙂
It makes it better surely?! You don’t like everybody in a room for eg. I often find myself thinking about a dislikeable character more as there’s more layers to them
@Donna Try Charles Cumming’s two Milius-novels; A Spy by Nature and The Spanish Game.
No…sometimes I like to hate a character!
I actually like dislikeable characters. They’re more interesting to me, worth reading about. If they’re too likeable I don’t trust them.
Jane Austen is unbeatable for writing about disagreeable characters who leap off the page and draw you in. The Eltons and John Thorpe are prime examples.
As are the works of Dickens and, indeed, many other 19thC writers.