By: Ebonye Gussine Wilkins
I have a really good relationship with my developmental editor. She’s got a ton of reading under her belt, and she has studied writing in various forms for what seems like forever. I always trust her to be honest with me, and she is. But she actually cares about what I write, so she is even more helpful than someone who may be looking for a few technical things. Overall, I love her for what she brings to the table.
She has seen Somewhat Close To Normal from the very first draft, and she’s seen me remove characters, create new ones, and generally mess with their lives. After all, it is fiction and at some point, the characters have to do things and have stuff happen to them or my writing wouldn’t be worth reading. But there is one particular character that she hates: Jodi.
Mind you, the book has been published since January and she still complains about Jodi. “I just don’t like her,” she said.
After further probing, I found out that she doesn’t like Jodi as a person.
Jodi isn’t real. She’s a character I made up to add depth to the novel. She represents a lot of things, and she gets into a lot of trouble over the course of the novel.
“I understand why she does the things she does, but I still don’t like her,” my editor says to me.
I’m far from offended by this. To me, it’s a compliment, because I’ve created someone that feels like someone you could meet on the street and still dislike intensely. Like that person who cut you off in traffic, of the person who carelessly threw away their half-full coffee cup and it got all over your shoes. It may not have been intentional, but it brings up something in you that you just don’t like.
So writers, it’s okay if not everyone likes some of your characters. Unless other reasons are given, they probably think you’ve done too good of a job creating them. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Has anyone told you they hate one of your characters? What about that character did they hate? Did you ever have a character that wasn’t developed enough to have any feelings for?