Have you ever experienced that heart stopping moment when you realise you have a whiny character?
Have you created a character who repeatedly complains at length (be it internally or externally) about the problems facing them, and does nothing significant to address their problems?
For the record, I would rather tackle a rebellious or unruly character than tussle with a whiny character.
In recent years I have heard writing friends admit they have an issue with a Debbie Downer type character. After casting them a worried look, I would tell them everything will work out and when they were not listening whisper to myself ‘this will never happen to me…my characters are always cheery!’
I thought other writers suffered with this issue. This was until some reviewers kindly drew my attention to the whiny main character in my second draft. Gasp, followed by sharp intake of breath.
Whiny characters have been largely unfortunate in life and feel the need to self loathe and lament for a number of pages / chapters.
Readers detest whiny characters. They want a main character to grow and overcome their hardships. Not one who spends six chapters snivelling and curled up in a ball.
When I have not been attending my Whiny Character Support Group Meetings...’my name is Lucy and I have a…..whiny character,’ I have been asking myself the following question – how does one deal with a whiny character?
How do you turn around a character, who made a reviewer write ‘her constant whining did my head in!’ and come back with a transformed character who the reviewer will love? Is this possible?
So, I have been hard at work researching this troubling writer ailment. Here’s what you need to do when dealing with whiny characters: