Monday, December 28, 2009

If I Were You, I'd...

Among the books I've read over break, the standout has to be Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier. It's a mish-mash of several fairytales retold, but the best part is, it's not straightforward. I really, really hate predictable plots. And sometimes, the pitfall with fairytale retellings is that they are quite predictable. Anyway, just throwing it out as a suggestion. The first half is a bit slow, but the second half completely redeems any failings. I also lack sisters of any kind, so I kind of enjoy stories with a lot of sisters. I am rather sad, because I won't be able to read the sequel, Cybele's Secret, for quite some time because I'll be gone. I have two days left, mostly consisting of packing and going to Chicago to shop with amigos, so I won't be able to finish it. Trust me, I was dying when I walked out of the library empty-handed. I think, though, I'll buy both books when I get back. Worth the investment!

Anyway, I wanted to talk about character flaws. Now, we all know it is impossible (well, not impossible, but not intelligent) to have a perfect character. Nobody likes someone who's perfect. A) That's boring. B) It would make the reader jealous. But that's not what I want to concentrate on. I want to discuss what you think is the most annoying character flaw. Your so-called dealbreaker in terms of character likeability.

I read Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, and while it was an okay read, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. It has great reviews on Amazon, though, so maybe I'm just out of sync with the world. It's not special. There's nothing about it that makes me want to read it again (there was barely enough to get me to keep reading). But above all, the main character annoyed the HELL out of me. I despise characters that are obnoxiously curious. Sure, I think it's healthy and necessary to have a regular dose of curiosity, but this is like...curiosity kills the cat type curiosity. Like, if you continue being curious, you are going to get yourself killed.

I am the kind of person, if you can't tell, when I watch horror movies (which is rarely) I am shrieking at the screen, "DON'T WALK IN THAT CREEPY MANSION, YOU DIMWIT! CAN'T YOU SEE IT'S HAUNTED AND YOU ARE GOING TO DIE?" That person. Yes, I am very unpleasant to watch horror movies with; you should all feel fortunate that you'll be spared that experience. So, when a character continues being curious to the point where it causes serious detrimental effects to other characters (ie DEATH), you would think said character would stop. Because she's KILLING PEOPLE. But I guess not. She keeps going because, maybe nobody will die next time! Yeah, right.

Of course, I am fully aware that if the MC had the curiosity of a doorstop, the story probably wouldn't continue. But that still doesn't make their curiosity logical in my eyes. It just bothers me. Maybe it's because if I were in the MC's shoes, I wouldn't behave like that. So I can't identify well enough, I guess. The prime example of this DEATHCURIOSITY is Psyche in the myth Eros and Psyche. She is obviously not supposed to look at the figure when he's sleeping, but because she is curious and it's driving her crazy, she does it anyway, naturally has to drop hot candle wax on his shoulder, wakes him up, and ruins the spell. Way to go, numbskull. Way to go. I think the worst part is, though, she cries about it forever until other people help her complete her tasks. I hate excessively weepy heroines. Tears should be used sparingly and with purpose.

I shouldn't be this angry over a fictional character, but man, does it tick me off, this DEATHCURIOSITY. I'm sure that most people wouldn't bat an eyelid toward DEATHCURIOSITY. Many people might even find it justified. I am just an odd duck.

What is your can't-stand-it character flaw? Tell me, I am curious (but not DEATHCURIOUS) to know!

PS I am writing like a maniac for ATRS. It is seriously almost done and my word count is like you would not believe. NaNoWriMo = the best thing ever for creating awesome writing habits.


  1. I agree about with the deathcuriosity so maybe that's why I don't read or watch horror either. hehe! Not my cup of tea. The character flaw I find most annoying? Overly independent women who don't need men at all. I love a strong woman as much as the next girl, but come on... We need each other. Period. No one's an island.

  2. I start to get really frustrated when a main character is incapable of making a good decision. Watching someone make one bad choice after another drives me INSANE. I feel like screaming through the pages, stop wasting your time with that bloodsucking stalker and look at the hot werewolf who's your best friend.

  3. I'm totally with you on the DEATHCURIOSITY in horror type stuff. I'm always like OMG, DO NOT SPLIT UP. DO NOT WANDER DOWN DARK HALLWAYS. DO NOT GO INVESTIGATE. -__-' Also, horror films kinda freak me out so I don't watch them. Although I can watch Supernatural, which has these moments but its balanced by the main characters' general competence and hilarity.

    I sympathize more with Psyche in the case of her curiosity (not her whine fest) in that, well, she IS married to and living with this Mysterious Person, who everyone says is a monster but is actually very nice to her. And while that's great things are good, I'd be a little "UM. What is up?" about the situation too. Plus, isn't she all fine and dandy for a while but her JEALOUS sisters show up and start fanning the curiosity fire?

    My character pet peeve is I can't stand whiny whiny angst-monster characters who never GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER/man up/grow a pair/etc. ad nauseum. Like really?! You're going to be emo and ANNOYING for the ENTIRE BOOK? Don't get me wrong - I'm okay with being emo and angsty as long as it doesn't make the character a whiny little brat who is utterly USELESS.

    Hmm, so maybe it's incompetence that I can't stand.

    Or stupidity. There's normal (and thus understandable) levels of stupidity, and then there's STUPID. I have pretty high tolerance for stupidity (I'm probably too nice/forgiving), but this is like Alz's big peeve in all mediums.

  4. Hi, Nisa! I love me some romance too (but not straight up romance, because I need adventure or action too).

    LiLa - I love you. Also, werewolves are shirtless and not-pasty.

    Krispy - EMO CHARACTERS SUCK. And yeah, not that I like to see a character succeed at everything he/she attempts, but if he/she continually fails, it ticks me off to the point where I want to stop reading. Everyone likes a badass winner.

  5. Hi, Icy! New follower, here. Helplessness. I hate characters who are always needing to be rescued. Like Bella in Twilight. I swear..that is the main reason why I can't stomach those books.