You can learn a lot about life through literature’s most unrespectable and heinous characters.
By Tom Brinkof, May 15, 2023
In his book, “Save the Cat!”, Blake Snyder offers storytelling tips for aspiring screenwriters. His main piece of advice, from which the book gets its title, is to “save the cat.”
In short, Snyder argues that writers should introduce their protagonists by having them do something that demonstrates their key traits or moral code, which sometimes means the character does something to make the audience like them—like saving a kitten from a tree.
Likable characters, after all, can produce more compelling stories than unlikable ones. Snyder has a point. Likable protagonists engage the audience by making it easier to relate to their personalities and struggles. The more we root for a character, the happier we feel when they accomplish their goal, and the sadder we get when they don’t. Unlikable protagonists, by contrast, risk alienating their audience. At worst, we don’t care if they fail or succeed. At best, we actively want them to fail.