Today, the lovely author, Lillia Fabry will be taking over and doing a guest blog post! Enjoy, and remember if you ever want to do a guest blog post Contact Me!
They make you wrinkle your nose and want to throw the book across the room. They get you to regret ever taking up reading. These are the characters you hate, mostly because they are the predictable, one-dimensional wastes of ink who will probably live throughout the entire series. These aren’t to be confused with characters you love to hate and have you salivating to see if they get their comeuppance. These are the characters who your potential agents and/or publishers will reject you for and your readers will blame you for either because of bad writing or all-around douchery. What do they have in common? Check out the below.
1. Too Cool for School (and everything else) – This type of character is great if you are officially hired to write the next James Bond novel or are the next Tom Clancy. However, most readers want to see some flaws, rather than the “no hair out of place” types whose sole existence is to look cool and never rise to a challenge because they are already perfect.
2. The Invulnerable - These characters are as mentally invulnerable as Superman and having their heart broken or one true love die early so they can fall in love later in the story does not count. As does getting unjustly fired by a greedy boss, having a one sided argument with a significant other, having a substance abuse problem that doesn’t result in a humiliating/disgusting scenario, etc. These characters may even be physically invulnerable to a bullet proof level (when not super-powered) and can recover from what should be a crippling or fatal injury with an overnight stay at a hospital and/or kiss from a pretty girl.
3. Damsel in Distress – Mila Kunis in “Jupiter Ascending” anyone? Or Bella Swan, if you need a book reference. These are the women who are sold as strong, female types, yet they seem to be unable to go a chapter, scene, etc. without being rescued, almost always by the male interest. It’s enough to deflate each and every scene she is put in danger, not to mention the entire book, as well as have us wishing the both of them would just be killed.
4. Obligatory Ethnic – This is not to say that diversity in story-telling isn’t a good thing, but no one thinks that a thinly veiled attempt to add a character for the sake of diversity does any good to the story or the ethnicity the character represents. Characters should be well rounded with their own set of goals and desires, virtues and flaws, courage and cowardice, and not a pathological need to dispel stereotypes or presume to think they solely represent an entire race, sexual preference, etc.
5. Over the Top Villain – The villains of today don’t necessarily twirl moustaches, tie women to railroad tracks to pass the time, nor constantly shift their gaze. The over the top villains of today still employ the maniacal laugh, unreasonably blame the hero for their woes, or hate the female heroine because she’s prettier. In short, an over the top villain has motivations few to no one could understand and exists only to give the hero someone to fight.
6. Sex-Obsessed – This particular character jumped the shark as late as Samantha from “Sex in the City,” but I remember being bored with it since Mona from “Who’s the Boss?” These characters love to tell everyone how much they love sex, how great it is, and how uptight you are for disagreeing about the merits of sleeping with strangers. In real life, these characters (both male and female) would be suffering from a parade of children, each parented by a different partner, as well as at least one form of permanent STD.
7. The Kids Who Knows Everything – Ever meet a child in real life who was as wise as some of these kids in books? They know what the main character is really thinking as well as the right thing to do about it. They know who the main character should spend the rest of their life with, although they know absolutely nothing about what both parties must have to make a relationship successful. They even know how to fix their own broken families while they obviously play with a toy to remind us they are kids. This is as big a fantasy as a kid who is ready to hold down a job, pay bills, and raise kids of their own – if such exists, I’m available for adoption.
8. The Kids Who Exist Just to Irk Their Parents – On the opposite end of the spectrum is the children who exist merely as plot tools for their parents. They whine, they cry, they throw tantrums at absolutely the wrong time to tell us how stressful the parents’ lives are. They sneak their boyfriends in just to tell us that dad has a temper or engage in promiscuity to show how cool their parents can be about it along with the realization that the parents at that age were no different. Drugs, sex, rock and roll? Only if it gives the parent something useless to do rather than establish the child as a human being with a personality of their own.
9. Conveniently Crazy – Insanity in a character is absolutely wonderful whether it be an extreme case of OCD to having voices tell them to burn stuff. However in many of these cases, too many characters have convenient bouts of crazy that serve to remind they are only characters on a book. For example, the crazy may serve to keep the main character from catching the bad guy at first, yet conveniently change right at the end to aid in the villain’s capture. In the case of a crazy side kick, the crazy has a tendency to make them ask questions that are terribly relevant to the plot or to give anyone the chance to pontificate on their situation. In short, keep it consistently crazy.
10. My Problems are Bigger Than Everyone Else’s – Ah, the past and current traumas that keep main characters in a perpetual state of whininess. I remember reading a Dean Koontz novel in which the main character lost a bunch of platoon-mates in Vietnam, lost a child in a car accident he survived, and lost his wife to cancer. I hated this guy. Yes, in real life his problems may be bigger than everyone else’s, but most people’s are not nor do they even know anyone like this. While past trauma can be a legit character trait, being a whiny ass about it and talking down to other characters is a sure fire way to get us to hate them. Might be good for a villain, though.
About L. Fabry:
L. Fabry attended the University of Houston where she was overwhelmed by the talent of her faculty and peers. She now indulges her need for creative outlets including novels and screenplays.
In her new novel, Ordinance 93 a law prevents births without government permission, and four people are about to break it. Find out more about it and her on http://www.lfabry.com" title="lfabry" target="_blank"> the official site.
Where to find the author:
https://twitter.com/lfabry93" title="Twitter" target="_blank"> Twitter
http://www.goodreads.com/lfabry " title="Goodreads" target="_blank"> Goodreads
http://www.facebook.com/Ordinance93" title="Facebook" target="_blank"> Facebook
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