I’m sure I’ve written about this before, but it seems to come up a lot, and in my Writing Effective Characters panel at TFF (which went very well!), a variation of this question came up three separate times. So here goes: How do you convincingly write a character that you do not relate to?
Wow. How fortuitous.
I was just thinking about this very subject last night while I was watching the BBC show "Red Dwarf", the novelization of which I just finished reading.
It's far more pronounced in the book version, but the character Rimmer (If you don't know him, I suggest you look him up), is exactly this type of character. He has virtually no redeeming qualities, but he's been inflicted on the sole survivor of a derelict ship (after his own death, explanation too long for here), because the ship's AI has calculated he's the one person who can keep the survivor sane.
The show really only skims the reasons *why* Rimmer is the way he is, but still manages to make him sympathetic in his own way. The book delves deeper, so much so that you actually wind up feeling *sorry* for Rimmer, even while he continues to be a total Smeg-head.