Kill Them with Kindness

Last week, I was on the phone with a lady who was not very nice. As great as the temptation was, I resisted and was extremely kind to her. I thanked her for her time and she quickly got off the phone not knowing how to respond.

When I hung up, Cale said, “You killed her with kindness, didn’t you.”

Yup, I sure had.

Recently, I’ve seen an influx of angsty characters, mean for the one reason that they can use harsh sarcasm which can be funny. That’s great and yes, sometimes it works incredibly well, but what’s happening to the nice characters out there? Where have they gone?

Sad as it is, in real life, mean people tend to stay mean and nice people tend to stay nice. I’m not sure if I can one hundred percent believe your character going from mean to nice or bad to good in the course of a few hundred pages.

I say, bring back the nice characters who go through genuine character development. Give your character a personality that goes beyond snippy words and actions. Trust me, your reader will appreciate it. 🙂

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16 thoughts about "Kill Them with Kindness"

  • Sophia Chang says:

    Okay, now I want to know what the phone conversation was about – was it a customer (dis)service rep?

  • Kate Larkindale says:

    I've just had the unpleasant experience of dealing with a very mean woman repeatedly over the last 3 weeks. She turns up every year and everyone loathes her. But I don't think she'll ever change, even if it was an epic of Tolstoy proportions.

  • Alleged Author says:

    I kind of miss nice characters, too–or at least diamond in the rough characters who are not sarcastic all the time.

  • linda says:

    Haha yeah, I have a file of story ideas and I realized most of my MCs weren't exactly of the sweet and gentle variety. So I decided I should mix it up a bit and write my current MC as a kind, friendly character. 🙂

  • Deana says:

    Ooo, I so agree with this. Sometimes, I'm like, "Yea, right. No way did that jerk become nice that quickly…or ever for that matter."

  • Janice says:

    Yup, sometimes I can't believe the things that people say.

    Mary Kole from has some great posts on using a sarcastic character voice when writing.

  • Krispy says:

    Loved how you turned this into a writing lesson, though I am also curious as to what this lady was so angry about. 😛

    I like snarky, sarcastic characters, but it's possible to be that way without being a jerkface. Plus, I do find there seems to be an overabundance of these snarktastic characters lately, and they're getting hard to differentiate.

  • E.R. King says:

    You're such a good person. So many people would have let her have it. Good for you for taking the higher road!

  • Kelley says:

    Ditto what Sophia said. Dealing with awful people is well…awful. I'm not very good at it, but usually I'm so shocked in the moment that I don't react really, but afterwards I'd mad at myself for not reacting. Glad you could take the higher road.

    From a newbie follower 🙂

  • Angela Scott says:

    You know, snotty and bitchy has its place. It can be fun. But sugar and spice is so much nicer. I love my MC's with a bit of snark, but also a gentle heart.

  • Juliana L. Brandt says:

    Thanks, guys. I definitely agree with y'all. There's a place and time for snarky, but in the end nice will win your readers heart 🙂

  • Jess says:

    I agree! We need more nice characters in literature–especially YA. We weren't all angsty, and it's nice to have someone who is easy to root for.

  • That’s so true. My protagonist in my last MS was angsty and my BF didn’t like her much. So I’m making my new protagonist a nice person from the very beginning 🙂
    And I love your blog!

  • That’s a brilliant answer to an interesting question

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