My characters are not morally perfect people to the point it is clearly bothering them

A supportive board for writers at all levels to discuss writing topics, debate burning issues related to publishing, To publicise your novel. And to seek support of every kind in helping you to become a better writer.

Post by Guest »

Hi all. I have a bit of a strange one. People who read my story often seem to be quite concerned that my characters are not morally perfect people to the point it is clearly bothering them. I'm unsure if I should be happy they're so engrossed in my world to the point of emotional responses, or I need to improve my characters. They are all intentionally morally grey as it is a cyberpunk book set in a futuristic dystopia.

Anyone else came across this before? My female lead clearly irks some people because of her drug taking and drinking (although it only seems to be women). I would even say she makes people angry, as she is a mentor and lawyer, but also big into cocaine and alcohol.

Should I be pleased or worried?

Post by Caroline »

Are these people upset that your characters aren't perfect or that you seem to be condoning their imperfections? If the former, I wouldn't worry about it. If the latter, then if that's not what you meant to do, you may need to change some things. I worry about this a bit with some of my characters, particularly the bigoted narcissist--I don't want readers thinking I'm condoning his behavior just because he's the protagonist of a novella!

Post by Jonzen »

Not every story needs to be a manual on how to live a good life. Sometimes people suck so we write that. Mistakes is how we learn. I wouldn't worry about moralizing.

Just focus on telling an engaging story.

Post by Michelle »

Maybe you're not hitting your target audience. I read Stephen King so I'm accustomed to the not so rosy aspects of life. I read fiction to be entertained, not to compare it to reality or what I would like the world to be like.

Post by Denise »

The real question is does your character come across as believable?

If it's jarring for the reader it is because you've thrown behaviours and attributes into your character that don't fit because you haven't written the character well enough to allow the reader to accept that is aligned to the character.

I'd suggest with this sort of feedback that the readers are struggling to suspend disbelief because it's jarring.

Post by Rebekah »

I was surprised when people called my MC a morally gray antihero. Now I'm leaning into it and having a lot of fun writing these naughty characters.

Post by Corrina »

Pleased! Its eliciting a response! Emotion! It’s memorable. Hell, characters are not supposed to be perfect or moral! Just like characters in real life are a menagerie of good bad and indifferent. I wish you All the best!

Post by Suzanne »

People are sometimes mad at me after reading my books because I don’t meet their expectations. There’s of course always the question if what you’re writing is offensive towards certain groups of people. If not, I’ve discovered it depends on the audience.

If they’re technical readers who are just ticking the more standard boxes and want you to stick to certain rules of the craft (a big thing these days) they might not be the right readers for your book, if they like a challenge and are more open to whatever it is they’re getting, not caring what it’ll be as long as it’s well executed, you have the right people to read your work.
Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Last post