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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    Will a novel work if the main character is unlikeable?

    I was married three times and my last two husbands died. I want to write about these events but not as a grief story. The heroine (me) is a kind of jezebel who doesn't love her husbands and rejoices in their demise. For the record, it will not be a memoir. In real life I was devestated by these events, but I want to re-create them from another angle. Will the story work if people find the wife unsympathetic? Love to get feedback. Thanks, Jayne



  2. #2
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    Yes it can work. "American Psycho" springs to mind, a book told first-person through a psychotic killer.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2010
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    The main character can be unlikable, but the reader still needs a way to emphasize with him or her. The main character of my novel is an escaped slave who commits several murders. Yet, he is kind to his own servant and generous to those in need. Readers need to know that even the most despicable person (unless it's the villain) has some capacity for redemption. A couple of good examples of unlikable but redeemable main characters are in Crime and Punishment and Lolita. You might find it helpful to read those two books and study why the main characters are interesting and/or appealing to readers.

    Jeanne

  4. #4
    Rogue Mutt
    Guest
    It's been a little while since I read it but I don't recall Humbert being redeemed in Lolita.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Aug 2010
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    Actually he is to some extent. He's captured and goes to jail for his crimes, later acknowledging his guilt to the court. However, it's his wit and humor that appeal to the reader from the very beginning. We know he's a monster, but he's still so charming and funny.

    Jeanne

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    18
    Thank you both for your responses. I have started on this project and will post a couple of pages for critique soon.

  7. #7
    Senior Member SapphireBlue's Avatar
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    Nov 2006
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    Just think of Scarlett O'Hara, and write.

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