Would knowing the truth behind your character's reasons and motivations and even behaviors, make you pity them, especially if that character is unlikable???

If a character is unlikable for the reasons that it deserving, would knowing their backstory and why they’re like that make, you (the reader or writer) pity them?

Hide the spoilers if you want to!

My Turn:

I thought about this in terms of Isilynor from Project Merellien and even Jorildyn will have her moments. Nirvana is even more of a pain in the ass, since she is the absolute cause of this though it isn’t her fault, just a terrible generational curse.


They are a bit complex to me at least, because they are drawn to powerful people in just the most unhealthy ways. Sometimes it is shown, while other times it is hidden, but slightly visible.

They are just messed up in their own way, including Sumina. Sadly, that won’t get better as the story progresses, the curse doesn’t work that way.

In Isilynor’s case she behaves like a spoiled brat with psychotic tendencies among the people she sees as weaker than her. Yet it would have been horrible and just plain toxic if she surrounds herself with the strong and powerful.

That’s the curse of her people, the Ravakalyns…and being Nirvana.
Got some questions, ask them?

Thoughts and feelings?



Tell me your thoughts, please!

I don’t think any of my characters are unlikable at the moment, but I understand what you’re saying. I see this a lot in other books.

Like I’m reading A Man Called Ove right now. He’s an unlikable character, but as you learn his backstory and all the awful things other people have done to him over the years and how he’s lost everyone he’s ever loved, you come to understand what makes him the way he is. And yes, I do pity him more and more with each new chapter.

But omg no, I definitely can’t picture Tom Hanks in this role. I’m envisioning a totally fictional character instead.


So, no?

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It only gets better from here!


I mean as I continue writing my Project Merellien, I wonder if Isilynor, Jorildyn (in spades), Sumina (maybe), and Nirvana need a redemption arc.

I can see Nirvana moreso, but Isilynor and Jorildyn are just trickier in that regard.

Though a flashback is greatly deserved as the story goes on.


Hahaha! LOL!

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Honestly I think it’s highly dependent on the tone of the story that you’re writing. If Vegeta was a character in ATLA I highly doubt he would have been redeemed. Granted, 99% of the Dragonball cast clashes hard with the tone of the Avatarverse even without the weird aliens and futuristic technology.

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The tone. Yes, that is important.
I suppose the tone for Project Merellien is dark with some light-hearted moments.

I can’t quite explain it. But it is very dark and gritty in a way.

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Are they gonna make a movie or no?


YES! A Man Called Ove! I read that book. I hated Ove in the beginning but it was written in a way that I was still curious enough about his story. Also, it was funny how the other characters were written. Almost like a satire. The author does such a good job to show why Ove is the way he is, and :face_holding_back_tears:

Not going to spoil it for you, but it was such a good story.

Although I did find that at times, Backman would go on and on about a metaphor and it bugged me :stuck_out_tongue:


It did become a movie.

It’s called

A Man Called Otto, a comedy-drama featuring Tom Hanks as Otto


My mom said it was good but that’s because she didn’t read the book :stuck_out_tongue: I’m not watching it. Like @Akje said, I did not imagine Ove to look like that…I mean Otto…


There was also a Swedish version A Man Called Ove in 2015…maybe that’s why the English version change the name and set it in America :thinking: It’s the American adaptation, perhaps.


The Swedish one is more how I imagined Ove to look like. I like how in the movie poster he’s holding a noose. I’d rather watch the Swedish version with subtitles.


Speaking of Swedish films, but different story, the only book to movie adaptation I would watch from Sweden over the American version is The Girl with the dragon tattoo.

That was wonderful. I didn’t see the American one, I refused to.

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But why Otto instead of Ove?
Is Ove so weird and harder for people to say or it’s an American thing?


As for my own characters, I have written characters to be unlikeable, but I don’t write characters I don’t like :stuck_out_tongue: I like my unlikeable characters because they cause drama XD And because they show that they can potentially be better.

Between Roses, there’s a reason Eryn is called the supporting Mean Girl. I wrote Eryn to be unlikeable. You’re supposed to laugh at her struggles and troubles. Oh the poor popular girl is acting like a victim! Boohoo. But you will start to see moments where you can root for her. She’s not a cold person. Just misled. By the end of the story, you still don’t even have to like her because she gives mixed signals. But she shows the beginnings of growth and that’s what matters. People don’t change overnight after all.

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I’m guessing maybe they wanted to put it all entirely in an American setting.

In the original, there’s an Iranian character and in the American movie version, there isn’t as far as I can tell.

Idk if that says anything :eyes:

They really Americanified it and modernized it with Otto having a “viral moment” as you do in this era. They even changed some things about the ending, too, which I won’t mention because of spoilers, but in my opinion, ruined the whole point of the story.

Personally, not interested in watching the American version :sweat_smile:


Honestly, I agree. I had many different ideas for Isilynor and Jorildyn in the past and they were all wrong and too perfect in the grand scheme of things. Now, they are unlikable (mostly Isilynor), but it is warranted because of what they are. Even the other characters, have their moments of being unlikable. I need to reveal that at some point in the story.

I am pondering how to end the series in terms of Isilynor’s personality. Jorildyn (the true MC) also plays into this as well.

As the story progresses they will get better and grown, but they are so tragic now and soon will become worse, that it is rather challenging.

This is just all in the mind, yet I have been strongly pondering this thought, even while in the midst of the first draft.


True, it is always an American thing.
I’m an American and it does get so tiring that I have to hold onto the mentality.

I got to leave this country and see the world.
That cost money that I don’t have.



Tom Hanks produced and starred in the movie, and I suspect he couldn’t pronounce the name Ove. I think it’s pronounced Oooh VEH in Swedish. ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯

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