Had I created a monster?
I asked myself that question after receiving feedback from friends who reviewed drafts of my novel, “Someone She Always Has Known,” and found Eleanor’s behavior unappealing and appalling.
One pal said he hoped she receives her comeuppance, another said I had made her impossible to like, and a third agreed.
Since I had never intended to create America’s next sweetheart, their remarks didn’t offend me. However, they did give me pause.
I realize Eleanor frequently goes too far. I wince when she makes Callie cry in front of Carson and Charlie or tells the newly-heartbroken Callie and Laura to get over it or…well, I could go on.
In an effort to “fix” her, I researched the subject of unlikable characters. Experts suggest writers present these controversial creations in a way that explains why they kill, steal, or cheat.
Wait a minute. What about a character who’s just over-bearing and rude?
In the end, I decided, with the exception of a few tweaks, not to “fix” Eleanor. Motivated by inner strength, stubbornness, and a need to succeed, she still recites real or imagined slights as a justification for her behavior.
She still makes me laugh. Take the passage where she pours out Dana’s beer and puts the empty beer cans back in the refrigerator. She then munches on an apple and chides Dana for having “some nerve.”
And she still displays tenderness and affection – and anger – toward Carson and Jodie, the two characters she most respects.
She’s flawed. No doubt about that. But instead of unlikable, I prefer to think of her as challenging.
A print version of “Someone She Always Has Known” will soon be available. The ebook is now available here: http://www.amazon.com/Someone-She-Always-Known-ebook/dp/B00CJYJ330/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1367536240&sr=1-1&keywords=someone+she+always+has+known