Michaeline: Likable characters


Emma Woodhouse and Elizabeth Bennet, Regency heroines

I think every writer struggles with the concept of “likable” characters, but the fact is that for most people, you get what you get. Your girls in the basement send someone up, and it’s up to you to work with them, and tweak or train them into characters who are likable, or at least interesting. If you can.

This has been on my mind lately because I just caught up with the “Lizzie Bennet Diaries” on YouTube. I loved the modern interpretation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and a combination of factors made it extremely watchable and fun. Wanting more, I continued on to “Emma Approved,” which takes Austen’s Emma out for a spin in the 21st century.

Rather famously, Austen was worried about Emma (the main character) and her likability factor. She called Emma “a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” I find that very true – Emma is a much harder book for me to get into because Emma is such a controlling, childish, unaware creature.

Interestingly enough, I think there are a lot of parallels between Emma and Elizabeth Bennet (Eliza Bennet is a character I like a lot, by the way). Continue reading