This week, Alida, Kathryn, and Robert discuss unlikeable characters. What’s the difference between a flawed character and an unlikeable one? Can you go too far writing an unlikeable character? Why write one at all?




How often do you find unlikeable characters? Is there a difference between an unlikeable personality and moral or ethical flaws? What about morally repugnant characters? What kind of arcs do unlikeable characters have? And how do you craft them?

What we talked about:

How often do you encounter unlikeable characters in fiction (that are not the antagonist)? (0:24)

Is there a difference between things we don’t like versus moral or ethical flaws? How can this damage relatability? (3:35)

Is it essential to the story? (9:28)

What about writing from the point of view of a morally repugnant character? (11:15)

Likeability is more about personality rather than ethics. (13:35)

The redemption arc for unlikeable characters. (16:58)

What is the difference between a flawed character and an unlikeable character? (19:32)

How do you purposefully write an unlikeable character? (21:17)

What are universal unlikeable traits? (23:10)

Give your unlikeable characters a key moment! (28:45)


Things we mentioned:

Thomas Covenant Series by Stephen Donaldson
Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
Buffy the Vampire Slayer 
Star Wars
Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Want more about these topics? Check out:

SWRT 34: Developing Your Supporting Characters
SWRT 021 Distinct Characters
SWRT 026 Writing Villians
SWRT 040 Character Relationships

Have thoughts, questions, other examples? Join the conversation at the Story Works Writers Facebook group

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