CHARACTERS How can I make my characters more likable?

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Moogle-Girl

Morality Kitchen Sinker
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Group Roleplays, One on One Roleplays
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A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week
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I work full time, so I'm usually not on until after 6PM EST on weekdays. (Weekends are free game though.)
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Intermediate, Adept, Advanced, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Futanari, Androgynous, No Preferences
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Very passive, but I'm trying to push in the other direction. Concrit welcome!
Favorite Genres
Urban/modern fantasy, psychological horror, fandom using OCs (no canon characters except in mentions!)
Genre You DON'T Like
High fantasy, historical, fan-based using canon characters (OCs only please!), anything involving heavy gun-based combat
#1
A really common criticism I get is that most of my characters are unlikable. Historically I've brushed it off since I know full well that I like writing assholes; I have fun watching my characters get mad over inconsequential things or fire anime-esque quips back and forth at each other or even act really cruel towards people who don't deserve it because dammit, writing suffering is fun sometimes. But after a lengthy break from writing in general, I find myself with some fresh perspective, pondering over characters in my favorite fandoms who I would absolutely describe as insensitive bags of dicks yet still garner oodles of love from their fans, myself included.

I have some ideas for how I can elevate my own characters to this status, but I worry that they won't feel like themselves anymore. I don't want to take the edge off my suave antagonists or hair-trigger-temper bullies. But I also want them to be entertaining, even if it's in a love-to-hate sort of way. So far I haven't heard comments to that effect, so I can only assume that I'm not there yet, at least not in the eyes of others.

Thoughts? Tips?
 
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A Few Posts a Week
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Male
Favorite Genres
fantasy, scifi, horror, magical, drama
#2
After reading some reading help guides, I've come to agree with those that push forward the idea that it's not about having 'likeable' characters, but having understandable characters. Negative feelings and behaviors do have a place. Snape is an excellent example. With the examples you gave, why not have the characters also enjoy getting mad over inconsequential things and getting into arguments?

This is a theme from Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground, where the underground man invites himself to a dinner party, hates it, but refuses to leave because it's fun to piss off others with his presence. He also makes mention of how people howl over having a toothache because annoying others with the howls is pleasurable.
 

York

Anxiously Awkward
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Several Posts a Day, A Few Posts A Day, One Post a Day
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Passive
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Romance, Scifi, Survival, Fantasy, Magical, Action, and much more
#3
Hmm... I would say start with anaylzing the traits that people find endearing about those kinds of characters.

For the time being, let's use Vegeta as an example: he started off as brash, arrogant, and pridefull. He still kind of this in regard, but... In the end, what people find endearing about him is not just these traits. Development later reveals him to be quite protective of his family and loved ones, and overall... A good father despite his actions at times.

As the the person above said... The deciding factor is probably relateability I suppose. While a character does not have to be nice or likeable all the time, I'd say even the cruelest of characters should at least have some glimmer of humanity in them, or at least something people can understand if you wish for people to like the character despite their flaws and/or quirks.
 

The Mood is Write

Ink-Dripping Elfmom, Word Bondage Enthusiast
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My Usual Online Time
11PM to 2AM EST, plus or minus a few hours in either direction.
Writing Levels
Adept, Advanced, Prestige
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female, Androgynous, Primarily Prefer Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Combination.

My strengths lie more in the direction of emotions and short-term ideas, where my ability to plan out long-term plots is weak. I do best with a partner who helps me cover that weakness.
Favorite Genres
I'm open to a wide range of genres. Obscenely wide. It's harder for me to list all I do like than all I don't like. My absolute favorite is mixed and multiverse, but I'm not limited to those.

• Mixed Genre
• Multiverse
• High Fantasy
• Hard Fantasy
• Low Fantasy
• OP Fantasy
• Science Fantasy
• Modern Fantasy
• Soft Scifi
• Science Fantasy
• Low Scifi
• OP Science Fantasy
• Modern Realistic (Strict)
• Modern Realistic (Loose)
• Urban Fantasy
• Alternate History (Fantasy Preference)
• Post-Apocalyptic Mixed
• Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy
• Post-Apocalyptic Scifi
• Post-Apocalyptic Modern
• Dystopia
• Displacement
• Military
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• Horror
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• LBGT
• Crime/Detective
• Parody
• Comedy
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• Romance (Must Include Others)
• Erotic (Must Include Others)
Genre You DON'T Like
The list is short. because it's hard to find genres I don't enjoy.

• Yaoi/Yuri (Gay/Lesbian is fine!)
• Furry
• Fandom
• Historic Non-Fantasy
#4
To make assholes that people love... This can be tricky, but it's also pretty fun!

Motivation is a huge key to making a likeable character, and when it's revealed, it can become a huge "OH" moment for the reader.

For example, let's say that Character A (C-A) is easily hurt. That is their motivation for being a jerk. They think that because they have been hurt in the past, they need to keep others away.

This in mind, they blatantly ignore others and act harshly. They insult, they sneer, they torment, but especially one person (C-B). C-B tried in the past to make friends with C-A, but considers it a failure, and now they think C-A is just bullying them.

However, when C-B is in danger, C-A tries initially to ignore it, but in the end, C-A helps C-B, only to reject their attempts at friendship after due to that fear.

Thus, we have a jerk with a reason for being a jerk.
 

firejay1

The Phoenix
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My times are pretty erratic, but it's only really rare to see me PST 3-11am. I'm on most of the time.
Writing Levels
Intermediate, Adept, Advanced, Adaptable
Genders You Prefer Playing
Male, Female
Playing Style- Passive or Aggressive
Fine doing both! Sometimes I end up aggressive, if no one else is contributing to plot, or if there's one person I feel like is taking over, but if everyone's contributing equally to the pool of ideas, I just let them go ahead and do it.
Favorite Genres
Fantasy, Slice-of-Life, Modern.
Genre You DON'T Like
Horror, Psychedelic, Gory (gore I can handle as long as it's not gore for gore's sake).
#5
Amusing jerks are also easier to enjoy both for your own writing and for people reading. It's not quite the same thing as what you're describing, but the kind of assholes who are insulting and annoying, but more rude pranksters with quick wit than straight up evil tend to go over well. Very specific jerks are like that, too. Like people who are only jerks under specific circumstances. Hibari Kyoya from Hitman Reborn is a good example - an asshole who really only cares about his school, his animals, and his personal space, but will basically leave you alone if you don't aggravate him.