Thinking about likability. It seems like it’s related to identifiability, or radical traits. If someone really stands for something, stands out or is unique in a definite, defining way, you have the opportunity to be inspired, moved, impacted by that uniqueness, to respond warmly or negatively.
Seems to explain why story characters are so often extreme. If they’re too bland, too close an approximation of everyday-normal, there’s nothing to grab ahold of and love or hate. Whereas, if they’re extreme in some way, or have some very clear trait, interest or belief, at least some people will identify with that and be drawn in, and a majority will form a love or hate connection.
In short, likeable people are distinctive people. The rest are just a faceless NPC crowd.
So the question isn’t “is Cole (Itri, Haynfyv etc.) likeable or not?”, it’s “is Cole (etc.) distinctive, interesting or relatable?” …and I’m not sure about the answer. She’s a bit of a cypher as it stands; alienated, solitary, strait-laced. Cadence should be more interesting, at least once the rewrites roll around and her role expands, but that poses different problems.
What happens when your protagonist is the least exciting person in her environment? It’s not really a classic ‘audience-insert’ set-up; who would want to be Cole (at least, at the beginning?) There probably needs to be more hints or development of her power, more attention paid to her uniqueness (even if it’s in contrast to her behaviour, intent or thoughts) early on.
I wanted to get away from the ‘chosen one’ trope, where the protagonist is magically special… but in the end, that’s pretty much where all this is headed, so maybe it’s better to embrace it at the start? It’s so American to set up the protagonist as the loner hero who sees through all the lies and fights for a different future, though.
Start Time: 11 am
Location: couch/living room