Now, I have a particularly loooooong list of pet peeves. I also have a lot of nit-pickings about the books I read, which leads me to become quite bitchy when it comes to being a reviewer. However, there are 5 types of characters I absolutely loathe. And here they are in no particular order (except for a numerical one (which is not a ranking (and just a number assigned)))
- The Guy who seems to be able to do everything – Your character is a single dad, I get that he can fight and cook food and is a great babysitter. Wait he can fly a helicopter too? Wow. Did he just do magic tricks? Wonderful. Oh he is a masked vigilante who kills the crime overlords too right? Does he fly too? I mean he must have a secret identity or two right?
Your character is must act within certain parameters and must have certain things he cannot do. Why should a single dad be able to fly a helicopter? Is he ex-military? If you give an ability to your hero or heroine, make sure you explain it. Or else just create a hero who is more or less human enough to make mistakes in things he does. There is nothing wrong in a hero being perplexed or being completely unable to do something.
A lot of people can’t take care of babies, don’t mean they are uninteresting people…
- That one Guy who does nothing for the story – Sometimes I read a story and try to hold myself back from asking people, why is the character included in the narrative? I am looking at any person who is in the story but, does nothing at all for it. He is just there. A character with back story and a life is just sitting there in scenes doing a lot that does not further the story. At the end the reader would probably get frustrated because she has to read so many more lines because this guy does nothing at all but, add pages to a story where he has nothing to do with the main plot.
- The Guy who is known only by his love – Oh dear romance writers, you have the largest responsibility of all. You bear the badges of eternal love in your heart and you spread love among those who fail to care. And yet, sometimes you create such a naive fallacy.
A character can change because of love. But, they cannot be defined solely on the basis of love. I hate when authors try and put through this idea that every aspect of a character is her loved one. That the character was born for their soul mate and has NO interest in anything else. Obsession is fine, but, if the character has no specific quirks, no personality factor, that is not influenced directly by their soul mate, why should I feel for them? I love characters that don’t fit because of this.
Come on Rhett Butler has his own magnetic charm that is completely removed from Scarlett, and while together they burn the forests, alone he can easily charm his way through our hearts. Your character must not be solely defined by their relationship with their significant other
- The Perfect Guy – When was the last time you met a guy who has never done any mistakes? I personally never did meet anyone who was devoid of any faults. A human being has faults which bring him down, which affects him. Weaknesses make a person better and that is awesome. There is an inherent difference between a strong character and a character who is perfect in all respects. Strength of a character is defined by his vulnerabilities, his humanity, his emotions, and not the swords he yields or the men he kills. Your kill count, your pristine aura, all those can add to your character but, when it makes them a person without vulnerabilities, it becomes a character that not many can enjoy.
Hell, give your character powers and make him a bit unintelligent. Make him a bit more human, a bit scarce, a bit socially impaired. That will only add to his charm.
- The Strong Woman – Before you go up in arms and try to murder me, let me explain myself. i am not against strong women when they are good characters. But, when strong women are somehow said to be Manly and it is hinted at that it is through abandoning their feminine characters that they became strong, it becomes a very misogynist view of the strong female. A strong female need not “Man up”, Mulan can be as feminine as she wants while being tots badass.
A strong woman need not be manly. A manly woman need not be strong. Get your shit straight.