Likable Characters, Tradition, Le Guin’s Advice, Dolly Parton

Mythcreants on the question Do Characters Need to Be Likable?

Should Your Main Character Be Likable?

Absolutely.

Then the kicker (which is fortunately followed by some helpful tips):

How Do You Make a Character Likable?

I’ve got some bad news for you. Character likability depends largely on taste, and people’s tastes can be mutually exclusive. In other words, it’s impossible to make a character that will please everyone.

Marie Brennan talks about tradition and cultural appropriation in Preserving Fire:

It also comes back to the issue of “tradition” and its role in society. I was a folklore major in college and grad school, and since folklore is often defined in ways that put “tradition” at the heart of the field, that means I read a lot of definitions for what tradition is. My favorite, by far, was completely non-technical in origin (it’s a quotation from the composer Gustav Mahler), but I felt it got to the heart of the issue in a way that technical definitions don’t:

Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.

Read the comments for respectful disagreement (on the internet!).

Le Guin is opening her blog to writing questions: Navigating the Ocean of Story. She also notes that:

I have enough vigor and stamina these days to write poems, for which I am very thankful. It takes quite a lot of vigor and stamina to write a story, and a huge amount to write a novel. I don’t have those any more, and I miss writing fiction.

And Dolly Parton turned down some bad publishing terms from Elvis (!).

Dolly knew that many musicians only focused on the music, but she also knew the power of solid horse-sense infused business decisions. That’s the difference between artists with long-time successful careers and those who never break through. Yes, talent plays a huge role, too, but business is a major factor. How many artists can you name who broke through on talent and then went bankrupt and faded fast?