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Last week someone made an interesting comment in their critique of my chapter nine. The individual said she didn’t find one of my main characters, Rachael, very likable or sympathetic. She didn’t like Rachael as much as she did Lucian.
I don’t have the lady’s e-mail address so I can’t respond to her personally, but I would like to say thank you. Rachael isn’t a very likable woman. She had a hard life, and though she has to take responsibility for a lot of her circumstances, other events were completely beyond her control. She makes no excuses for either herself or for others, and if she’s caught in a weak moment, then it’s because her guard is down, which is rare.
Rachael has survived many traumatic events in her life. She has moved past being a victim and into being a survivor. While these incidents have made her stronger, she still has to learn to allow people to see her vulnerable side. There is something rough in Rachael’s core, and as she learns to move outside herself and mind the people in her care, she will become more likeable as a character.
However, there are times when having a woman like Rachael on your side can be a good thing. She’s not afraid of making tough choices, and when the wolves are at the door, she’s the woman you want to answer. While she’s not a nice character, she is certainly a good woman. She just has a more difficult time showing it.
So what about you: are all of your characters sympathetic to the reader? Do you have one of those characters that other people initially don’t like? Or do you believe that all main characters should be immediately likable in some way or another?