by Rebecca Delphine on Thanet Writers site:
A guide to writing repugnance into your characters, including ten ways to make them more repugnant.
When it comes to reading about repugnant characters, no matter how much we don’t want to know what they’re going to do next, we can’t tear our eyes from the story. Repugnant characters are interesting, impulsive and sporadic. It’s hard to guess their next move because the very thing that makes them repugnant is something we would never dream of doing, and yet we love to see how other characters react to them. Readers don’t only want to delve into the story of the hero character and imagine themselves in that role, but they too want to explore the life of the repugnant character, to see just how far they will go and envision themselves breaking rules that in real life they wouldn’t even consider.
Writing authentic, three-dimensional repugnance into a character isn’t easy, since what each individual reader finds to be repugnant can vary greatly from person to person. This variance can be due to the society a reader lives in, their upbringing, religion, moral views, life experience and personal tolerances.
The following are ten possible ways to create repugnance in a character, with examples in literature and television, from likable characters with nasty little habits right through to serial killers with wholly repugnant minds.