Being a bookworm is a layered experience. We read books, we love some, we dislike some, we hate some, and we have reasons for all of these. One such book-related thing we all do is have favorite and least favorite characters. Everyone has their own reasons for loving or not loving a character. Debates can go on for ages about this because for every person loving or hating the character, there’s at least one person feeling the exact opposite.
A couple of months ago, out of the blue, I got thinking about a character and how I didn’t like them at all. There were, however, reasons which people pointed out saying that the character was supposed to make you feel those things and that that is how the author wrote it. So, this means that there are bad characters and badly written characters and there’s a stark difference between the two. Either way, however, you tend to dislike both types of characters – one, because they’re supposed to be reprehensible, and the second, because of how they’re written.
What exactly is this difference then?
Bad characters are the ones who turn the world and the story upside down to make life difficult for the protagonists. They are more on the villainous end of the radar, in my opinion. But this is just a little example. Anyone who is an obstacle in any way to the main story can be considered a bad character, albeit based on your own criteria. For example, Keris Veturia from Sabaa Tahir’s quartet, An Ember in the Ashes, is the worst character to ever exist in the sense that she is a great villain. She is consistent from start to finish, being purely evil in everything she does. And as you continue with the books, you understand that she is supposed to be bad. Without her ‘badness’, the books wouldn’t be what they are now.
On the other hand, badly written characters are inconsistently written, they have awkward dialogues, there’s no depth to them, they’re repetitive, or their actions sometimes make no sense at all. For example, the protagonists of The Spanish Love Deception. It’s a book, the mere memory of which makes my blood boil. Catalina Martin and Aaron Blackford have no depth to them. The plot is flimsy, yes, but the characters themselves are extremely shallow and without any weight of their own. Continuously mentioning ‘blue eyes’ and ‘solid chest’ without making any other point does not a good character or plot make!
Of course, bad characters and badly written characters aren’t mutually exclusive. You can have a bad character intended to make the story ‘interesting’ and the main character’s life hell. But they could also be so far out of the lane that they need to be on that they just become an annoyance in the story, in turn souring what could have been a great reading experience. Yet, it would probably be helpful to try and make out which one of these it is while reading so that you get a clearer picture of the book and its story.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you tell the difference between a bad character and a badly written character? How do you tell the difference? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you! 😊
Also let me know what you thought of this short blog post. I wanted to write a longer one, but I think I was able to convey my thoughts in fewer than a thousand words – something that’s rarely happened over the past month. 😀
I’ll see you in tomorrow’s Blogtober post.
Until next time, keep reading and add melodrama to your life. 😊