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