Re: What makes you dislike the MC?

I don’t think it’s as simple as values life=BAD CHARACTER or kill kill no value life=BAD CHARACTER

Realistically, people wouldn’t want to up and murder people until pushed to the absolute brink or if it’s their core belief values. (Think about that one combat medic in WW2 who saved a bunch of people without shooting any enemies). I think it just depends on the way a character is written and their history. If a character is like that for no apparent reason, it’s bad. The same goes for murder hobo characters (think about Eren from SnK before SnK had that abysmal ending). If they’re just killing people left-and-right with nothing in their background to highlight why they’re doing it, it’s unbelievable. People with total black-and-white views aren’t as uncommon as you’d think.

So unbelievable MCs without a backstory to support why they are the way they are.... are what turn me off. 

Re: What makes you dislike the MC?


For starters, the relationally obtuse MC. It can be for whatever reason - be it he's a cloistered, socially inept individual, gets anxious around his gender of preference, or is too absorbed in a sense of noble duty or even resentment that he won't entertain the idea desire obvious evidence. And what gets me isn't the obtuse nature of the MC, but that he never grows. Months can pass in the story and the other characters can see it she get frustrated by it, but the MC stays stuck.

A good example of this is "I Hate Being Wed in a Fantasy World". I had to put the story on a reading hiatus, because I couldn't stand that the MC wasn't growing, despite specific FLs working through their negative emotions about the situation and trying to make the most of it.

The other one I can't stand is the amoral hero MC. Like, it's one thing for the villain lead, if it's a villain MC, to have questionable or no morals, but when the hero doesn't have any, it presents a problem. Heroes are supposed to represent ideals the reader is intended to emulate or support. And I don't mind flawed morals. At least have something, you know? Batman doesn't kill; Punisher - well, I don't know what his schtick is, but you get the idea.

Re: What makes you dislike the MC?

I think there's very few traits that I can cleanly say make me dislike a character so much as how the trait in question is used. For example, characters with no empathy or with sociopathic tendencies might be fine if the story is actually prepared to handle that and give some purpose to that aspect of the character. If the story just wants to show off how cool and edgy its serial murderer protag is though, or try to say "but they're actually a good person" despite never trying to do more than minor acts to redeem the character, then that's a problem. Same with the concern over whether the MC will kill bad guys that would continue to be a problem if allowed to live. It really depends on the context of the story and what it's trying to say with the character's decision.

As someone who was an avid anime watcher in my teens, one character archetype I can say that I either really enjoy or absolutely loathe is the "tsundere" character, the character who is aloof and antisocial, maybe a bit of a grouch or just the type of person whose nerves you don't wanna get on, but then through them getting close to another character you get to see a more genuine, nice side of them and realize they're a good and warm person. That's potentially quite nice, I like that a lot when it's written well as good character development.

But other times you get the watered-down anime archetype where the word "tsundere" brings to mind the mental image of a small pouty anime girl with a twin-tail hairstyle who likes a guy, but then any time they come close to having a moment she gets flustered and yells "It's not like I like you or anything, BAKA!" and punches him in the face, but it's okay because it's played for slapstick comedy. I hate that kind. Having seen enough real-life bad relationships, the slapstick comedy aspect is lost on me these days and feels uncomfortable, and the rest just tends to feel so cookie-cutter. It doesn't help that I have a personal bad experience dealing with someone who would force that kind of character in your face, give them no redeeming qualities, and then get mad when you didn't like the character.

So, yeah. In general, whether I like or dislike a character is more dependant on the quality and how they're handled rather than the traits, but I've seen the tsundere archetype be popular enough in anime circles and yet mishandled enough that I can generally say it's an easy way to make me hate a character.

Re: What makes you dislike the MC?

I have to say straight out that I hate charathers that are perfect. Whatever you might call, be that Mary Sues or self-inserts, I will always loathe them. OP from the starts, the only thing stopping them being the author who tries to make it seem like they are actually having it hard. Everybody loves them, everybody knows just how good they are, and even bad guy 101 is sad about having to do such a thing in front of such a grand figure in everything. Bloody hate those type of MCs

Re: What makes you dislike the MC?


Letum Wrote: When the author gives the character a mental illness or a disability of some type and it's painfully obvious that the author did absolutely no research. Typically, the author only uses the mental illness/disability as a convenient plot device and the rest of the time, the character might as well have zero issues.
I must admit I somewhat have this problem. Though I'm trying to be mindful, but Idk if I'm succeeding...

Re: What makes you dislike the MC?

So these may not apply necessarily to writing, but they are things I hate in MC, especially isekai MC
  • When the MC refuses to chant a magic spell out loud because it's embarrassing. You have limitless power at the tip of your fingers, to the control the nature itself, but you are worried about being embarrassed.
  • In reincarnation stories where the MC will grow up in the new world yet even when they are fifteen or older they still act like they just arrive in the new world. What I mean is they never truly integrate with the new world. They still think like they did back in their own world.
  • Wikipedia levels of memory where the MC will be able to recall any bit of information.
  • Only the MC's moral compass is good. If another nation has slaves/Racism/other stuff that would be bad today that nations is clearly evil. -- MC logic
  • The MC existing for the sake of a singular gimmick. A lot of the time with stories like these, the MC can't really change that much, as there character is so locked into the gimmick that any real character growth would kill the gimmick and therefor the premise of the story.

Re: What makes you dislike the MC?

I personally dislike when a main character is quite bland and basic (it's part of a buisness strategy I guess, where the audience can easily print themselves onto the main characters life/personality for she is just that kind of bland and basic that everyone can relate to in one way or another) but they still manage to get multiple love interests that are usually kings/queens, nobles or special higher class people in general. I have no idea how a basic, bland and white girl (again a normal trope for a main character) manages to get all these people to fall for her. Realistically it's impossible ):< for people in reality have actual brains and preferences for people that actually have a personality and something interesting that's seen romantically. An example is Alina from the Shadow and Bone triology where the main girl has really nothing going for her except being a sun summoner and some how princes, black heretics and soldiers all fall for her. Not because she has magically powers. But for her non-existing personality. (Take this from the books perspective.)
But I do admit having problems with the same basic-and-bland with my own MC, which I am fighting hard to combat but it's very hard not to fall into that trap.
I personally like main characters that have some sass or persona of some sort. A favorite is Rhett from Wake of Vultures, one of my fave characters of all time. 
Btw great question.

Re: What makes you dislike the MC?

So uh, mine are going to be super nitpicky as people have already done a better job of explaining my bigger ones so here goes!

Super attractive mc's. I get it, what's a power fantasy without the power of good looks? But wow, it's annoying. Especially when every female character is a world class beauty with the exact same body type. 

Female mc's who don't have normal bodily functions, never pooping or farting or burping or menstruating or scratching an itch. Just, come on, they are people, let them live!

Any mc described as "logical" or "rational" cuz you know it's gonna be some (american) libertarians wet dream, esp paired with the anti-hero tag

Characters who are always written like they're 20, regardless of their age. Please hang out with people not your own age if you want to write believable characters.

Misogynistic male mc's, no one wants the first thing they learn about a new character to be their breast size, especially if it's his sister >_<

Re: What makes you dislike the MC?

I don't like MCs that don't grow. Almost all of the flaws listed here I can handle if a character starts with them, but an oblivious character needs to grow more aware throughout the course of the story. A murder-hobo should learn there is nuance and life is a bit more valuable than that. Superman doesn't need to learn how to kill, but he should struggle with whether or not he should at some point in his story. A novel is a long enough story to challenge a character's thought processes, values, and entire worldview multiple times before the end of the story. Some web novels are hundreds of thousands of words long. Traumatic events, like those we often write about, change a person for better or for worse. They shape a person into a hero or transform them into a villain and I want to see someone--even someone I don't like at the beginning--go through that process.

That said, there are a few pet peeves I have. I will usually stop reading when an MC is needlessly cruel or violent because it's not my thing. I have my limits with prejudices as well, especially those I have to deal with in real life. Are prejudiced characters realistic? Absolutely. Authors just have to handle the subject and character growth with extreme care and I can usually tell when it's not going to happen. It also grates at me when female MCs don't read as women. Some of us are competitive, some of us are aggressive, some of us are sweet and demure and fit perfectly into the "feminine" box. There really isn't a specific way for a woman to be, but there are actually social, cultural, and communicative differences between men and women. Sometimes female MCs read exactly like male MCs and it's hard to relate to them. I'm sure it goes the other way around, too.

Re: What makes you dislike the MC?

This tends to be more of a fanfic problem than an original fic problem, but I can't stand MCs who walk into a situation, immediately understand the conflict, and propose the perfect solution. It just... renders the entire story pointless. Nor can I stand MCs who are so hypercompetent that the whole story is a meaningless power trip for them (for example, those hfy stories who deliberately make a bunch of weak/stupid aliens and put in a human to show how cool humans are, and have nothing else to say except that. You... invented a bunch of weak characters that don't exist just to say that humans are stronger than those hypothetical weak characters? And? What's your point?)

I have nothing against unusually intelligent or unusually competent characters. Who doesn't want to read about Sherlock Holmes (a decently written version I mean) walking onto a scene and pull an implausible amount of evidence out of it, or watch an expert cat burglar bypass state of the art security systems? Those characters are great. But there comes a point when the character so outclasses the world around them that it seems like they're actively mocking the story they're in and that any conflict is just there as part of an obnoxiously transparent power fantasy, and at that point, not only do I think the character is an arrogant twit I don't care about, but they've dragged down the world they're in with them, rendering the whole story pointless.

Re: What makes you dislike the MC?

If there's one thing that I just cannot stand anymore in fiction it is MC´s that are insignificant and/or have their insignificance be one of their defining traits. It's fiction, I don't want believability or relatability, that just makes me dislike the character. If the protagonist is not important to the wider scope of the world, then why am I supposed to care about their struggles and journey? 

Additionally, MC´s that are exceptionally moral. Anti-heroes I can accept, templar characters who hold their values as absolute can work too, but the standard "I just want to make the world a great place" protagonists bore me. 

And lastly just because I watched something today that has just been grinding my gears into oblivion today, protagonists that are either pacifist/against killing in a setting where that is just insanity. Yes, in a setting in a modern society it'd be kind of strange to end everyone you come across, but if death is a common fate for characters around the protagonist and yet they continue not to do so then it completely takes me out of the story completely. 

Re: What makes you dislike the MC?


One of my personal least favorite tropes is when the MC has an incredibly powerful and useful special ability with no obvious downsides, but they whine and complain about it for eons instead of being happy they were born so lucky. "Oh nooooo, I'm the most powerful and high-ranking member of the team! How will I ever live with this awesome superpower that has no cons?! I just hate being the chosen one/lost princess/multimillionaire heir..." I mean, sometimes all of those things have legitimate downsides, but half the time the author completely forgets to show them, so it sounds like the MC is complaining about nonexistent problems. You can't expect the audience to be sympathetic towards the all-powerful superhero if their powers have never once hindered them throughout the entire story. Same goes for when a character goes through some kind of cool transformation and then gets all mopey like "I'm a monster..." Like, no, you aren't. If your newfound abilities have never, ever caused you problems, stop complaining about them. 

Re: What makes you dislike the MC?


readerbreather Wrote: Realistically, people wouldn’t want to up and murder people until pushed to the absolute brink or if it’s their core belief values. (Think about that one combat medic in WW2 who saved a bunch of people without shooting any enemies). I think it just depends on the way a character is written and their history.

Oh, that's a very good point, BUT (there always should be a BUT), he was a medic who helped his comrades that killed enemies, so despite his belief, he didn't stop any killings and in one week he got injured and sent home, realistic environment, realistic character (well it's based on real events) and realistic outcome. I love the movie.

But we are talking about overusing these tropes, if the MC is a medic and he values all life equally I'm fine with it, but if the MC is an Adventurer, Leader, Military, etc. well then you have tough choices to make, lives depend on your decision, and as proved by history, showing too much goodwill will just invite more enemies, you can talk out an enemy from a conflict once, twice, but eventually there will be a psycho with a smile on his face that'll get more pissed the more you speak, unfortunately, in many stories, the MC is forgetting that intelligent life can be quite unpredictable. 

Re: What makes you dislike the MC?

The only thing I really hate about MC's is when they're a Mary Sue (or the opposite). Characters who start off being literally the best. Every obstacle they face is trivialised because of how OP they are, or they always figure out some 'clever' (read: unsatisfying) way to solve every problem.

I don't mind characters like Superman for example, who are incredibly powerful. Superman, in his strongest iterations, basically can't be defeated. But he gets character development in other ways. I don't consider him a Mary Sue, because usually a Mary Sue is always right and I HATE IT. 

Characters need hurdles that they can't overcome. They need to make sacrifices and go through a rollercoaster of emotions. They need to have a dark night of the soul. Mary Sues simply... don't.

Back to Superman, you said you don't like him because you don't like characters who believe that their ideals are the only ones that are correct. I can understand this, but that's exactly why I LOVE Superman as a character. He's pretty much a godly being who can do whatever he wants, but has a self-imposed rule that he can't kill anyone. Because of that, he's always holding back, because the slightest amount of force could kill a regular human. In the Injustice Comics, this is explored even further, to the point where he finally [SPOILERS] crosses that line and kills the Joker. He then proceeds to take over the planet and rule it with an iron fist, killing anyone that breaks his laws. Basically, that one rule that he created for himself was the one thing that kept him from becoming a villain, and the character development is exemplary.

This became more of a rant about character development and how much I love flawed characters who change throughout the story, sometimes for better but sometimes for worse. But yeah, back on topic, Mary Sues suck.

Re: What makes you dislike the MC?


Lord Wrote:
DrakoRem Wrote: I don't like when the MC is acting dumb and believes that his/her values are superior to others
This so much. I don't give a damn that the MC values all life and doesn't want to kill anyone. Shut the hell up and just kill the bandit before he kills someone else.
I completely agree. It is just so annoying when the MC refuses to kill anyone. I agree with many of the points, but one of the things that bug me out is after the MC kills someone for the first time, they deal with a ton of mental anguish. It really annoys me to see it happen. I understand the necessity of it, but I wish there wasn't so much! Most stories just have the MC say he didn't enjoy it, and father figure replying that killing can be necessary, but as long as you don't enjoy it, it's okay.