I need a little help. I’m going to pitch to you my idea for my next novel, and you tell me if you’ve ever heard of this being done, who the author is, and the title of the book (or movie), because I have no idea how to make this work. I want to have my three main characters unlikeable—girls to women whom the reader will never like. We wish for their deaths. The only somewhat likeable character this story will have is the anti-hero antagonist, and her part is small.
This idea breaks all the rules of having likeable main characters. So I need to know if this has been done before—before I attempt it. The only comparisons I can think of right off are A Clockwork Orange and American Psycho—actually, anything written by Bret Easton Ellis has the most despicable characters imaginable. But why do we read them when all the characters are evil? Vengeance maybe? These two examples have more of a cold hearted Caligula feel to them. The acts of evil are atrocious enough to keep the reader turning the page. My characters, however, aren’t murderers so I need to keep my readers in other ways besides shock.
Disclaimer: I use the term despicable to compliment said authors above. They are talented writers who have channeled their twisted minds to good use in fine storytelling, an achievement I hope to accomplish for myself. That said, I do not like to read novels about pleasure killing. I can say I’ve done it; I can’t say I won’t again, especially if one of you recommends a book for research in hateable characters.
I have many story ideas, but this one just won’t go away. It keeps saying “Me next. Me next.”
“Sure,” I say. “Hold your horses. I need some time.”
“No! Now, dagnabit!”
“Fine,” I say. “Just let me ask other writers first.”
“Then do it. Make it snappy.”
Jeesh. See what I mean about these people?
The only other comparisons I can come up with are teen slasher movies, where you’re okay with their ultimate demise due to their extreme stupidity. My girls will be clever, not stupid, a little heartless maybe. My anti-hero is more clever, though we like her, more evil. So in essence, there are no redeemable characters.