Questions 3: Author Pet Peeves

This has been brewing in my mind for a bit, but I wasn’t sure if I should talk about it.  This could ruffle some feathers.  Basically, there is a pet peeve of mine that I haven’t really made public.  I’ve reacted to it in comments without naming it.  Honestly, it’s something I don’t even think I can control since it involves the perceptions of others.  Time to name it and create some clarity:

It irks me when someone mentions my characters in a way that makes them seem like one-dimensional figures.

Guess I wasn’t able to explain it clearly there.  Basically, I’ve noticed that some people have a habit of talking about some of my characters as if they are very basic.  Best example is when people talk about Lloyd Tenay of Bedlam as if he’s an uncontrollable monster with no rhyme nor reason.  It’s jarring because I’ve written scenes where he is insightful, caring, serious, and oddly noble.  This ignores that he lives in a world where you have to kill to survive.  So, there is always a reason behind his violent actions.  Yes, he enjoys the predatory thrill, but he’s not this wild and random maniac in terms of violence.  It’s his words that are kind of off since he thinks he’s a character in a story.  So, I get irked when it feels like people have labeled him and ignore the other aspects of his personality.

I might bring this on myself at times.  I bill Lloyd as a deadly serial killer when I have to make a one-line description.  Clyde from War of Nytefall is shown to be a powerful monster when enraged.  People act like he’s as random and blood lust-filled as Lloyd, but he’s another who has more human scenes.  I’ve tried to show these on the blog, but people either skip or don’t remember.  The action scenes are what get attention.  This means that I have a lot of trouble getting their human sides across unless people read the main book or stick with the weekly serial.  It’s funny because on the opposite end of the spectrum is Ichabod Brooks who readers seem to perfectly understand.  His book barely sold and he doesn’t show up on the blog as often as Lloyd, Clyde, and Lost.  Yet, there’s something about him that gets readers to understand his dimensions.

Here’s the thing with my characters.  I always try to make them human.  Lloyd Tenay is a serial killer out to have fun, but also find a place in a chaotic world.  Clyde is a powerful vampire who has birthed a new breed and is worried that he will lose control of the monster inside him.  Lost may be random and crazy, but she is and may always be an abandoned child that wants as big a family as she can find.  Yola Biggs is an exiled Chaos Goddess who causes trouble at the slightest whim, but really wants to find a place to call home.  Even Stephen Kernaghan, who is a monstrous rapist, has a pathetic human side where he’s nothing more than a cowardly worm that is hiding behind a sadistic nature and incredible power.  Yet, all of these characters get defined so basically when people bring them up with me.  It’s a pet peeve because it makes me wonder what the point of all the crafting was for if one aspect takes all the attention.

So, here are the questions:

  1. Do you have any author pet peeves?
  2. Do you have any characters that people seem to misunderstand?
  3. Have you ever defined a character by one aspect and realize there was more to them?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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24 Responses to Questions 3: Author Pet Peeves

  1. Charles, I don’t think I have enough of a body of work to have a pet peeve yet, but I can see how yours would be frustrating.Do you think it’s because people are only capable of seeing ‘the big picture’ when it comes to characters? I suppose my example would be Darth Vader – he’s a bad guy that wants to turn Luke to the Dark Side. But only at the beginning. from half way in the original trilogy, he is clearly conflicted about destroying his son[Spoiler, sorry] and eventually gives his own life for his son. ‘There is good in him, I can feel it.’ Even Luke knows that. but when asked to describe Vader, I might just say ‘baddie.’

    Liked by 1 person

    • The thing with Vader is that fans acknowledge his dimensions. He isn’t treated solely as the evil corruptor of the hero. I don’t know why my characters don’t get that, but there is a wide chasm of popularity between them and him. It could be the audience’s decision to drive deeper too. I think my teasers cause a little trouble in that people use that snapshot to get the whole picture. They might not read the story that the character flourishes in.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. 🙂 A close Charles second: assuming characters are a type-cast set based on what magical race they’ve been defined as.

    As others have said, I haven’t much writing to develop a pet peeve for. My main one so far is probably the same as many others: that I make something brilliant and few enjoy it as much as I. 🙂

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  3. I can’t give you the 1,2,3 answers because they all kind of blend together. I don’t really have a pet peeve. When I’ve gotten comments that are a bit different than my intent, I try to assess my own efforts first. Could I have written it better? Sometimes yes, and sometimes it’s the baggage someone brought to the table themself. I’m a little surprised at all the attention my root monsters have gotten. Lanternfish is full of interesting characters, but they get all the glory. I’m at a glass half full/half empty place here. Should I have done a better job with my other characters, or did I do an outstanding job on the root monsters? Writing something others enjoyed is a thrill to me, so I’ll take it in either case.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Guess there’s a reason the Minions got so popular. People love hordes of small, adorable monsters. My pet peeve stems mostly from it feeling like certain characters are glanced at then their behaviors are assumed. So, I get comments and critiques that miss the majority of the character. The times I’ve asked about it, I usually get an admission that the story wasn’t read.

      Liked by 2 people

      • That sucks. People shouldn’t comment without the basis to comment from. I went out of my way not to make my creatures too much like minions. They even participate in the fights and get bloody. People like them anyway, so I’m not changing them in the next story.

        Liked by 1 person

      • See, I don’t want to discourage comments. Just wish people would consider the characters a bit more. Stating that Clyde has no self control is false. Talking as if he’s dangerous and could lash out if properly angered is closer to the truth.

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’m getting a lot of new followers that never comment. People seem to be interacting less in general. Of course 80% are probably bots for some unknown reason.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m noticing that too.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Staci Troilo says:

        I am probably the biggest root monster fan on the planet. It’s not that they were outstanding (they absolutely were) or that the other characters weren’t as developed (they were equally developed as the root monsters if not more so). It’s that they’re fresh and fun. We’ve all read every stereotype of person (and most of their creative variants). No one has read root monsters before. It’s almost invigorating. If I made the mistake of not giving the rest of the story adequate love, I apologize.

        Charles, if people are generalizing and not reading, that does suck. But I just assumed it was someone mentioning a prime characteristic and then moving on. I know I don’t write a literary analysis when I leave a comment on a blog. I just say what popped into my head then move on. I take more time with reviews, but even then I don’t go to the lengths I did when I had to write papers in college. Honestly, I’d be happy if I could get people to comment on my work at all. (Provided they read it, of course.)

        As for my pet peeve, it’s when people write a “review” (and I use that term loosely) saying they don’t like the genre and then giving it low stars. And that’s it. Why are they reading a genre they don’t like? And why take the time to write a negative “review” that has nothing to do with the quality of writing? All it does is tank a book’s ranking; it doesn’t help a reader make an informed choice, nor does it help a writer improve. That drives me nuts.

        I have a whole list of pet peeves about Amazon, but I’ve already rambled too long.

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      • Amazon is definitely a big pet peeve source. The ‘not my genre’ reviews are up there with ‘book is good/bad’ ones. With the character thing, it isn’t so much the prime characteristic thing. People jump to conclusions about how the character will act in certain situations by working solely off it. This creates a false image that can be very off the mark. For example, Lloyd in my Bedlam series enjoys killing and fighting. Yet, he doesn’t do it for no reason or go after friends. I get statements from people who act like he’s an uncontrollable maniac, which isn’t the case.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Staci Troilo says:

        Yeah, that’s not cool. Either they didn’t read carefully or they didn’t read at all. I’d be miffed, too.

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  4. Renee says:

    Oh, I know exactly what you mean. One of my pet peeves is when people say my characters Makari and Auren experienced “love at first sight”. If you actually read the story, you’d know that is NOT what happens. There is a kind of magic that draws them together because their “ancestors” have essentially decided they’re going to be together (there is a backstory to how their magic works). And they don’t fall in love from the start. They are drawn together in a way neither of them understands and at first they are enemies who dislike each other and hate that they’re drawn to each other. I’m not sure where “love at first sight” comes into that.

    I’ve pretty much decided that people who misunderstand what’s going on in the story or my characters haven’t really read it. They probably were speed reading or skimming, or maybe they were reading and not really paying attention? I don’t know. Those who really love my work get it, so that’s what really matters to me. 🙂

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    • That has to be frustrating. Though it does show how some people define ‘love at first sight’. Wonder why they ignore the enemies thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Renee says:

        I think some people just don’t read properly, either because it’s not a story they’re interested in reading or they just like to speed read and as a result miss a lot of important details. Someone once left a review on one of my books, gave it one star, and said the exact opposite of what other people were saying, and some of the things he said had nothing to do with my story. So who knows?

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      • Speed reading is definitely a problem at times. I know a few who think it’s better to read a lot than take their time. So, they rack up a lack ‘finished’ pile and can’t really go into detail with their explanations. It’s a shame because most won’t go back after the first read.

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      • Renee says:

        I’ll admit I speed read sometimes. Usually in really tense parts of a story when I just want to know what’s going to happen next. But I always go back and read the story again. I’m weird that way. If I really like a story, I’ll read it 3 for 4 times in a row just so I can catch anything I might have missed.

        I don’t understand how someone can speed read through stories and not take their time and enjoy them. It sorta defeats the whole purpose of reading.

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  5. “Have you ever defined a character by one aspect and realize there was more to them?”

    I think you HAVE to realize there’s more. We all start out with rough characters, even stereotyped characters, and as we work through the story we find more dimensions. But it seems like some writers really believe that they have to cling to that simple stereotype, even for their main protagonist. It’s like they don’t think their readers can handle a nuanced portrayal.

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