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Sunday, April 7 • 10:00am - 11:15am
9H: She's Terrible, and I Love Her: On "Unlikable" Female Characters
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Female characters are often given the dreaded moniker “unlikable” compared to male counterparts with similar traits, many of whom are considered “compelling.” Writers might be tempted to force their characters into boxes they don’t fit. What's the difference between characters who are complicated vs. unlikable? When is it feedback to take to heart, and when is it reader preference? In this session, we’ll explore the origins and gender implications of the term and provide examples of writers who have "gotten away with it" and why they were able to do so. We’ll also dig into strategies to ensure character stakes and motivations are clear—and how to combat the voice in your head that tells you to make a character likable when they really just wanna be “bad.”

avatar for Kelly J. Ford

Kelly J. Ford

Kelly J. Ford is the author of Cottonmouths, named one of 2017’s best books of the year by the Los Angeles Review. Her work has appeared in Black Heart Magazine, Fried Chicken and Coffee, and Knee-Jerk Magazine, and is forthcoming in Post Road Magazine. Kelly is an instructor for... Read More →
avatar for Michelle Hoover

Michelle Hoover

Michelle Hoover is the Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University and teaches at GrubStreet, where she leads the Novel Incubator program. She is a 2014 NEA Fellow and has been a Writer-in-Residence at Bucknell University, a MacDowell Fellow, and a winner of the PEN/New... Read More →

Sunday April 7, 2019 10:00am - 11:15am EDT
White Hill Room - 4th Floor