Protagonists - Likable or No? - Page 5


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Thread: Protagonists - Likable or No?

  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by ArrowInTheBowOfTheLord View Post
    In my tastes as a reader, I find I gravitate more naturally towards characters who are more good and virtuous than me. I recognize I'm in the minority here. Partly, it's plain sensitivity -- I find certain consistent character flaws grating with an almost physical intensity.
    That's a good commentary on why giving your character 'a flaw' is sort of lazy. Just plonking 'a flaw' in there can too easily have nothing to do with the actual development of the character (motivation, belief/misbelief, etc.). Then the author has to constantly remember, "Oh, Clyde doesn't like cats" and suddenly they've got to write in a cat so Clyde can kick it.

    Also, I know of myself that I would tend to write characters who were happy and great people to whom nothing much happened if I didn't give myself mental permission for the character to be unlikeable and for bad things to happen. But that's all stuff that makes a good story so I really do need to sort out for myself that it's okay to do it.
    But the main reason, I think, is a preference for external conflict as opposed to internal conflict. I do think some stories or arcs focus more on the external -- the conflict created by the antagonist or the atmosphere. In these arcs, a less flawed character can work well because more than enough conflict is already generated by the circumstances.
    This is a great point and thank you!! I hadn't thought of it that way.
    It is true, I think, that the majority of readers are less likely to believe or suspend disbelief in a genuinely good character than a genuinely bad character.
    Which is incredibly sad, really. Though I think that readers might LIKE to be able to believe in a good character. They just might take some persuading and build trust in you as the author that you're not going to fumble the story. No pressure!
    Nice small-town pastor by itself may be boring, but nice small-town pastor vs. the Antichrist is good fiction.
    Frank Peretti is always a good read. Illusion may have been one of my favorites of his. I wish he was more prolific.
    Another method, I've found, of getting readers to suspend their disbelief regarding genuinely good characters, is just make them so delightfully weird that nobody notices how virtuous they are. I've never heard a single person complain about Chesterton's good guys being unbelievable, for one.
    Seems like a good tactic to try!
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  2. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by ehbowen View Post
    For my other divine WIP the built-in counterbalance for God is of course Satan, but I'm adding the conceit that, in millennia past, God made an agreement not to send the holy angels into Hell after him, and that after Calvary/Easter the further condition was added that God wouldn't go Himself any more. Which leaves God in a bit of a pickle...until the right human being comes along. Shaping up nicely....
    When I reported I have one angel, now that I think of it that wasn't exactly accurate. I have a lot of demons in my story, and in lore, a lot of demons are fallen angels. I have a few Fallen in the story, and one becomes a major character in the last two-thirds of the book. It led me to the question of redemption for the Fallen. Religious study holds there is no redemption, because under no circumstance would the Fallen desire it. I explore a demon who comes to regret the Fall, and I suppose (in the story) this regret may exist for more than the one demon. It wasn't something I initially planned, but as I did more research on personalities in mythological and demonic lore, it seems some demons don't have such bad reputations, and some were considered to be helpful in particular circumstances. So I gave them a softer side in my story.
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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by vranger View Post
    When I reported I have one angel, now that I think of it that wasn't exactly accurate. I have a lot of demons in my story, and in lore, a lot of demons are fallen angels. I have a few Fallen in the story, and one becomes a major character in the last two-thirds of the book. It led me to the question of redemption for the Fallen. Religious study holds there is no redemption, because under no circumstance would the Fallen desire it. I explore a demon who comes to regret the Fall, and I suppose (in the story) this regret may exist for more than the one demon. It wasn't something I initially planned, but as I did more research on personalities in mythological and demonic lore, it seems some demons don't have such bad reputations, and some were considered to be helpful in particular circumstances. So I gave them a softer side in my story.
    I'm going to disagree with religious orthodoxy on this point. I think that there are MANY of the fallen angels who want out. I take the opposite tack...redeeming them is so difficult because there's quicksand between them and Heaven...aka "the great gulf" which Jesus spoke of in the story of Lazarus and the rich man. Or avalanche snow, if you prefer. I've heard stories about mountaineers trapped on the far side of a crevasse which simply could not be rescued because to attempt to cross would be suicidal for the rescuers. I've got a very complex cosmology in mind which resolves to the same net result.

    For humans, we Christians believe that Jesus did cross that gap and that he did so with a rescue line. So it's possible and even easy (at least, on our part!) for us to be redeemed. The fallen angels, however, are still a few layers deeper across that crevasse (in my conception). Who's up to the task of bridging that gap? (Spoiler: My WIP MC and his two angel friends...one holy, one fallen!)
    There are very few problems which cannot be solved with a suitable application of high explosives....

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