I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript. Yep, you can join in the fun, too. Let’s take a looksee at topic #28
28: If an opinion expressed through dialogue makes your POV character look like a jerk, allow him to think it rather than say it. He’ll express the same opinion, but seem like a lot less of a jerk.
Hmm. Depending on how this is used, he can still look like a jerk just thinking about it.
I’d like to expound on this and say be careful of making your main character unlikable. Period. I’m reading a novel for crit right now in which I really can’t stand the MC, and she has no concrete reason for doing the dumb things she does. If I had picked up this novel in a bookstore, I would have put it back by now.
The author said “It’s good that you don’t like her. I’m doing my job.”
This author just doesn’t get it, and is waiting with bated breath for rejection #215 on her queries.
You need to connect with the main character. No one is going to want to read about a character they do not care about. They can be a jerk, but you have to make them relatable, and your reader has to care.
If you don’t have that engagement with your reader, you don’t have an audience.