What is an Unsympathetic Character? Must a Novel’s Protagonist be Likeable? – Written By Anne R. Allen

One of the things that will get you an automatic rejection from most agents—and a swift toss to the DNF pile from a lot of readers—is an unsympathetic character. Especially an unsympathetic protagonist. Personally, I have to admit if there’s nobody in a story I care about, I’m out of there after ten pages or so.

But what do we mean by a “sympathetic character?” What makes us care?

The truth is the protagonists of our most popular books, plays and films are often people we wouldn’t like to hang out with in real life. Some are pretty toxic.

From “wily” Odysseus to Don Quixote, to Heathcliff, Becky Sharpe, Scarlett O’Hara, Dexter Morgan, Walter White, Lisbeth Salander, and the “Girl on the Train,” we are fascinated by morally ambiguous characters who make bad choices.

But don’t these successful works negate the dictum that a protagonist must be sympathetic? Nobody wants these people as their BFF.

Continue reading HERE

Introducing A Great Place To Write II

It’s been quite some time since I wrote about a great place to write. But a few weeks ago I found one. It was quite unexpected.

It’s getting cooler here… yes, even in Southern California autumn is visible and feelable. A couple weeks ago, I knew I’m going to be cool sitting outside and writing, and there was a breeze that can make writing on paper a bit uncomfortable at times. Besides, I hadn’t eaten that day and was a bit hungry.

I discovered ‘Mimi’s Bistro & Bakery’ in Thousand Oaks and found it inviting on the outside. I decided to go in and see if I could stay for a while, eat, and write.

It was homey and cozy inside as well, and I had a wonderful waitress, called Melissa. They have a quite attractive menu here:

I told Melissa who I am and what I planned, and she beamed like the sunshine and invited me to stay as long as I liked. She paid really good attention to me, did not constantly disturb me, and counted on me looking at her if I needed something.

I was in Mimi’s Bistro for about three and a half hours and loved it! The food is great, the staff was wonderful and polite, and since then, I had been back at ‘Mimi’s’ and enjoyed the ambiance and Melissa’s service again. Drop by and enjoy it!

That particular location of Mimi’s Bistro and Bakery can be found here:

Thousand Oaks
400 N Moorpark Rd.
Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
Phone: (805) 373-6161

If you ever go there, to eat – or write – or both, and you see Melissa, please tell her I said hi. She’s amazing!