Troublesome Characters

Last week I was flailing around, trying to figure out what I should write about, and a friend on Twitter suggested I write about troublesome characters.

Here’s the thing, though. Writing is a highly complex art, with many necessary skill areas, and I firmly believe that everyone has some skill areas they are good at and some that they really have to work at to get to work.

I have never had a troublesome character in my life.

I assume that what she meant by “troublesome character” is the sort that I hear about from other people, where a side character takes over the plot by being ridiculously awesome, or characters decide to do something that goes against the plot, or where a character turns out not to have the personality necessary to get the job done.

I have absolutely no knowledge of any of these issues.

Now, before you stone me (and I know you’re considering it), I do have my issues. I have one character in the high fantasy trilogy I’ve been working on forever that one of my betas absolutely despises. He’s not a troublesome character–he’s not directly counteracting any of my plans–but for at least one reader he’s completely nonredeemable, which is a problem. And I’ve talked previously about my inability to tell how much description is the proper amount. And I think I may have finally figured out how to foreshadow at a proper rate.

But characters themselves? They spring into my head fully formed. They come with names and personalities. I have never had to do a character worksheet. Even when it becomes apparent on subsequent drafts that a character requires massive changes, I haven’t had issues switching over. I did a massive character overhaul on one of the characters–Lily–for my urban fantasy coming out in December, and if anything, the changes felt more right than the original character.

Do you have troublesome characters, Squiders? If you do, how do you teach them to behave? And what are your writing strong points, the parts that never give you issues (or at least, give you less issues than everything else)?


2 responses to this post.

  1. I have troublesome characters in that they can really quickly become cliches if I don’t spend some time doing a fairly thorough character bio for them. I think it’s just my brain taking the easy way out, but a good plan seems to solve the problem. I always try to ask myself “would I put up with this person if I knew them in real life?” x


  2. Posted by Sophie on 2015/04/01 at 4:35 AM

    I was recently writing something with two of my fan characters/original characters, and the pair of them did something that I was trying to avoid. I then sighed, and went along with it. To be honest, I’m not sure how I would deal with that. With this, the way they went actually made sense, but I had already plotted out how their relationship would go. Fuyumi, one of the two involved, is troublesome to both her creator and her friends. I found it good she had done something like this, but it was frustrating.


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