The Nellie Oleson Factor

When I was a kid I read and watched Little House constantly. I loved to hate Nellie Oleson. To be honest, I wasn’t all that happy when they reformed Nellie and made her into a nice person on the show.
Nellie was the perfect villain. Only she was a kid, so she got away with being awful without us holding her too responsible for the outcomes of her actions.
Cordelia on Buffy was a Nellie Oleson first season.
Mean Girls, yep, Nellie Olesons.
In Honor and Lies Savannah is somewhat of a Nellie Oleson. She’s the main secondary character, but she’s not really likable. In fact, she more than the villain, Miss Celinda, stands in the way of Sissy’s quest.
Sometimes people ask why I let Savannah be so unheroic.
It’s funny because when I first started writing Honor and Lies, Sissy and Savannah were one and the same. I wanted them both to be heros. It wasn’t possible. I tried to make Savannah someone the reader could route for even though she’s such a snot at times. She’s a product of her environment, she’s protected and coddled, and in the end, she’s shocked by the realities of the world she lives in. I hope the reader can have more empathy for Savannah than I ever did for Nellie Oleson.

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