One thing that can completely ruin a book for me is annoying characters, and there are certain character traits that just make me want to scream. Therefore, I decided to make a list of the character traits that annoy me most, and I’d love to know yours!
- Excessive self-involvement
One sure-fire way to make me put down a book? Have it written in first person and basically read like this: me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me…and you get the idea with that. Excessive self-involvement is one of the traits I dislike most in real life people, so I certainly don’t want to see it in fiction!
- Excessive selflessness
What is it with certain characters (namely YA heroines) and their determination to sacrifice themself for everyone else? And is it just me who can usually see another way around it that the character seems to be oblivious to in their determination to martyr themself?
If I was going to scream and throw a book, it would be because of a whiny character. Why can’t they just STOP COMPLAINING? If a character whines about everything then there is no way I will feel any sympathy for them when something worth complaining about actually happens!
For me there’s a fine line between characters who are deep and insightful and say beautiful things, and those who are downright pretentious. I personally feel like the difference is whether or not the characters have substance – are they just talking in elaborate metaphors and making grand statements about life for the sake of being ‘literary’, or because there is actually some meaning behind it?
A quality possessed by many a fictional best friend! The thing that annoys me about this is that it is pretty much always a trait given to a character to throw another into their shadow – and I really can’t stand those ‘loud and outrageous’ vs. ‘quiet and timid’ best friend pairings! I just think it’s a pretty overused plot device, and always ends up falling a bit flat.
- Forced quirkiness
Don’t get me wrong – I love quirky characters! I just love genuinely quirky characters, not over the top, overly contrived characters where it is obvious the author has just thought: how can I make this character weird? I know! They can have five different colours in their hair, wear three hats and love playing the bagpipes and collecting tea cosies!
- Bad-boyness (if that’s such a thing!)
The ‘bad boy’: he’s rebellious, mysterious, charismatic, messed-up and not quite like anyone else! Oh wait, hang on…I guess he’s kind of like that other bad boy in that other book…and the one in that TV show…oh and that film…and I guess every other bad boy ever. BORING!
So those are the character traits that annoy me most. What are yours?