Some of my very favorite books have unlikable protagonists:
- Ain’t She Sweet, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
- A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby
- Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn,
- Girl on a Train, by Paula Hawkins
- A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy O’Toole
- Wuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte.
- Citizen Vince, by Jess Walter
But, you point out, most of those novels are literary fiction. Only one is a Romance.
True, but I’ve never subscribed to the notion that Romance can’t take on the same challenges as other genres. The only two rules your book has to follow to be a Romance are:
- Must have a central love story.
- Must end with a happy ever after.
That’s it. Somewhere along the way, a lot of romance authors (and, to be honest, readers) have added a third, unwritten rule: The protagonist must be likable from Day One. I beg to disagree. Continue reading