9 Ways To Make Readers Care For An Amoral Protagonist

What if you have a main character who is truly unlikeable? This post will help you to make your amoral protagonist more likeable.

Sometimes there’s a hero who is even darker than an anti-hero. This character is amoral or morally challenged. In fact, he or she is usually a psychopath.

It is fascinating to read a book with this type of protagonist. When the author gets it right, you will find yourself rooting for a criminal.

We found this article on io9.com  and we thought they came up with some great ideas to get your readers on this type of character’s side.

9 Ways To Make Readers Care For An Amoral Protagonist

  1. Make their ends noble even if their means are evil.
  2. Ensure there is a line even they won’t cross.
  3. Give them someone or something they care about.
  4. Show us how they lost their moral compass.
  5. Make everyone else worse than they are.
  6. Give them a sense of humour.
  7. Make them lose.
  8. Falsely accuse them of worse crimes.
  9. Make everyone hate them.

Examples of books with amoral protagonist:

  1. The Dexter series by Jeff Lindsay. Dexter is a serial killer, but he is different because he only kills other killers.
  2. The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. Tom Ripley wants to be wealthy and he kills a rich friend to gain access to his monthly trust fund cheques. There is something charming about him and we root for him as he evades capture. The rich friends are often worse than Tom himself.
  3. The Book of Evidence by John Banville. Freddie Montgomery’s wife and child are held as collateral when a debt comes due. He returns to Ireland to steal a painting and accidentally kills a girl in the process. He goes on the run, but he truly believes he has done nothing wrong.

Read the full article here: 10 Ways to Make Everyone Root for Your Amoral Protagonist

[Use our Character Creation Kit to create great characters for your stories.]

by Amanda Patterson

If you enjoyed this article, you will love:

  1. The 5 Qualities Published Authors Share
  2. The Author’s Promise – 2 Things Writers Should Do
  3. The 12 Question Fiction Writing Conflict Test
  4. How To Write Great Dialogue
  5. The 3 Most Effective Types of Inner Conflict
  6. Writing Tip: Why you need a villain in your story

If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course.

Posted on: 14th December 2013

6 thoughts on “9 Ways To Make Readers Care For An Amoral Protagonist”

  1. It’s actually technically easier to write people who are worse than you are; you just have to get down with your bad self. Memorable villains are much more common than memorable saints. That’s like trying to write the poetry of a character who’s a great poet… when you aren’t, yourself.

  2. Also, of course, evil can just be a hell of a lot of fun, if you’re not a Puritan about your imagination. Most people fantasize doing things they’d never do in reality — so why not do so in other people’s fantasies?

  3. Sounds like Batman and the Green Arrow characters of comic books. Comic book stories are just as interesting and as good to read as other literary stories. Even when written without the illustrations.

  4. I’ve found that writing the evil protagonist can be a lot of fun! My evil mean girl says and thinks things that a lot of us think, but would never say out loud, or even admit to. I feel like I’ve funneled my frustrations into her, and I love the thoughts of redeeming her later on.

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