Novel Writing

Annoying People Make the Best Characters

I bet you have one, we all do. That person who sets your teeth on edge, who drives you up the wall, who makes you google how to get away with murder (I’m joking about that last one…). That person who makes your life difficult.

Have you ever thought of them as Novel Fodder?

Novel Fodder – Definition by Blissful Scribbles – A person or object that can be directly placed into a work in progress to add tension, drama, and interest. Can sometimes be used passive aggressively, which although best avoided, is incredibly satisfying.

Novel Fodder is a great way of letting out your frustration. Write out that person in minute detail, the exact things they do, put it in a character. The annoying character traits? Give them to an antagonist. 

If a good relationship with said person is preferable or necessary editing will need to include a stringent “identity protection” portion so you can veil your frustration. This is recommended in such instances as your wife’s best friend or you boss.

However, that snarky woman you met in Tescos? Write her up. 

That rude driver with the obscene bumper stickers? Write him up too.

Write them up until the frustration is gone, and you’re left with a novel full of real life people. (Obviously make sure to add a large dollop of characters you DO like, otherwise your novel may miss the mark!)


8 thoughts on “Annoying People Make the Best Characters

  1. I’d have three novels full of empty pages if I didn’t use this technique. If you combine a number of habits from different people you can get a truly awful character.
    They are always more believable if you give them real life characteristics.
    I recently did a storytelling workshop with some teenagers and between them they came up with a character that was a disgusting excuse for a human being. I knew that everything they described was something they’d encountered at some point.


  2. -giggles- One of the characters in my latest sci-fi novel is based on a relative-by-marriage who is no longer married to my relative, so I don’t feel at al guilty in using his annoying mannerisms to flesh out an annoying character. The names and faces were changed, of course, to protect the innocent. 😀


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