When Your Readers Disagree with Your Character’s Choices

1336686153839_9121423As an author, the perfect scenario is for all of our readers to embrace our characters and love everything they do. Speaking for myself, I often worry as I write about whether or not a choice or action taken by my characters will turn off or alienate readers. I worry, I ponder, I delete, I re-write and then I usually go back to my original thought.

Why? Because you can’t please everyone and the moment you try you’ll never write anything interesting again.

This doesn’t mean that I’m not sensitive to my readers, but the truth is that if our characters always did exactly what they were supposed to do, it would make for a very boring book. That’s not to say you aren’t taking a risk. I personally stopped reading the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, when Sookie chose Eric Northman for the millionth time over men who were clearly less exploitive of her. I just couldn’t take her anymore. I still love that universe, but I just got too fed up with Sookie.

In my own writing, I’ve had reviewers take me to task for choices my characters make or scenes that occur. And, while I’m sensitive to it all, my characters make their own decisions. I mean that quite literally. I often think I know what’s going to happen only to have a scene go in a completely different direction. Sometimes, I’ve tried to force a scene to go how I wanted it to go, but it never feels quite right when I do that.

In the best writing, characters truly come to life and have a psychology unique to them. The result is that, just like in real life, we don’t always agree with what they do and say. It doesn’t mean we love them any less though.

As an author, I’d much rather have real, flawed characters that keep me invested so that even I have to keep going to see where the story ends, than bland, predictable characters that put me to sleep.

5 thoughts on “When Your Readers Disagree with Your Character’s Choices

  1. Dear Elene,
    I agree that You can’t please everyone. I believe a Loyal reader will continue to purchase your writings, and follow your blog’s. That’s what loyalty is all about. Easy for me to say as I’m not a published Author or Writer. I had read a book by a well known Author, I wasn’t crazy about the story or ending, although I still continue to read their writings.
    Your Loyal Follower,
    Anastasia

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