Character likeability: flash vs. finish-line

I hate that I’ve gone this long without posting anything, but I’ve been really sick. So I’m reblogging something my sister and I worked on a long time ago, over on The Brunette’s Blog. This is my sister’s portion, and I’ll post my follow-up tomorrow. Hope you guys enjoy!

The Brunette's Blog

For writers, one of the most important things about a character is whether your readers like them. It is also notoriously difficult to manage. Readers will love a character that was intended to be a one-off cameo or a villain, and complain that the main character is boring or annoying. Sometimes character responses can be so different from the writer’s intentions that they change the whole course of a series: a minor character will become major, a villain will develop a redemption arc (sometimes, perversely, changing the character such that readers don’t love them as much.)
There are a lot of ways to think about character likeability, but in general I find myself using a simple two-axis system. One axis is how much you want the character to succeed, and the other is how fun they are to watch. These factors are pretty independent of each other, except at the…

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