Katy Lee here, reflecting on my two week car ride with two preteen girls in the backseat. (And one little brother to instigate) Perhaps some of you can relate with all the drama I witnessed with no hope for an escape. I’ve heard parents say it is normal for cute, compliant children to morph into something that needs an exorcism, but I always thought it wouldn’t happen to me. Ha-Ha, the laughs on me, I guess. My standard line shouted over my shoulder the whole trip was, “Cut the drama!”
Whining, bawling, and caterwauling, oh my! And let’s not forget their talented eye roll. Such skill to be proud of, for sure. I’m told this is normal and should pass in about twenty years. Ugh!
But in the meantime, it is all fodder for the writer in me. I am observing and documenting each snit and pule, each “end-of-the-world” lamentation to use in my writing. (In my defense I’ve warned them that is where they will end up.) And by the end of week one, I had a whole story idea plotted where things don’t go well for them.
But my question to you is this: Do you mind drama queens as main characters in your stories?
I’ve read my fair share of books where the heroines were the whiniest and most spoiled of brats, and I hated them…and not the good kind of hate where you love to hate the characters, but the kind of hate that turns you off from ever picking up a book by that writer again.
But then I’ve read stories where the annoying character redeems themselves through believable endearing acts or their behavior is explained as the story unfolds, and the reader can become sympathetic to their plight instead. It’s a fine line a writer must draw out carefully…and my daughters could definitely learn from. Just saying.
The Unlocked Secret: If a glimmer of hope for redemption is alluded to early enough in the story, I think the reader probably won’t drop the book. They will probably read on to see how their heart can be turned around in favor of the character. Most readers want to like the main characters, but as with my daughters, there’s only so much drama a person can take before they drop the book-or crank up the volume-to cut the drama out completely. Thank God I see that glimmer of hope in my girls. I guess I’ll keep them and see how it all turns out.
Question: So, do you mind drama queens as your main characters? Do you enjoy writing them? What are your tips for endearing an unlikable character to your readers?