Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Characters Who Piss Me Off
Top Ten Tuesday if a fabulous link up hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today's topic is Top Ten Characters who piss us off, would be our BFFs, stole our heart or whatever. I figured this would be a good time to list out all of my fiction pet peeves. I'm going to stick with character type instead of a specific name.
1. The Idiot Cop - a common occurrence in a cozy mystery. At least one law enforcement person involved in the investigation - generally the primary one - is woefully incompetent. Sometimes this is because of a bias they have against the main character sometimes it's because they're just not real smart. The only time I've come across this working is in Rhys' Bowen's Family Blood (Review). This worked because not only was the policeman a small character but the location, time period and regional politics made both his incompetence and vindictiveness make sense.
2. The Expert - one of the easier ones to get past but when it's badly done can be super annoying. The main character is an expert in EVERYTHING. Medieval literature? Know it. Celtic ghost stories? Check. Bio-metric based security systems? Got it. This is well done in Beverly Connor's Diane Fallon series but can be maddening in others. Nancy Drew is also a culprit in this one. I remember rereading one where Nancy just happened to know the correct name and phone number to identify the tracking number on a pigeon.
3. The Secret Keeper - this one shows up in romance novels and it drives me crazy. 9 times out of 10 the actual secret isn't that big of a deal and would've resulted in a little spat at most if the air had been cleared early on. A good example of this is Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas (Review) where the lead guy was completely upfront. I loved him for it. Another of example of this being done right but done a little differently is When the Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries (Review) where secrets were kept but the reasons were doing so were so serious that it made sense.
4. The Over Reactor - this seems to happen across the board in all fiction categories. Your boyfriend didn't tell you he was going to be 30 minutes late? The audacity! Your mother/sister/best friend/co worker had to cancel dinner plans for some kind of emergency? They secretly hate you. It's exhausting.
5. The To Stupid To Live - I'm not sure if this character needs further explanation but they make a regular appearance in just about all fiction. I once read a book where a woman took her small son to a confrontation with someone she knew to be a murderer without letting anyone know. I believe this all happened while standing on a catwalk over a vat of something toxic. I wish I was kidding.
6. The Immature one - this ties in to the above 3 but it annoys me enough where it gets it's own mention. Normally their actions combine all 3 into one charming temper tantrum pitching sulking supposed grownup.
7. The Surprise Baby - as soon as unprotected sex is mentioned in a romance you know what's going to happen by the end of the book. It has to be a really really good book or it's getting put down quick. This isn't really a character but it's a plot twist I dislike so much it's going on the list.
8.. The Busy Body - Unless the main character is law enforcement, a private investigator or directly involved with whatever incident happened I'm not answering their questions. Especially if they're rude and in bad cozy mysteries they frequently are.
9. The Mean Friend - this is a character who doesn't necessarily ruin the book. This is generally a side character and if I'm very very lucky is limited to only a few scenes. Anytime the main character calls this friend she's just plain mean. Mean in a you have a massive drug addiction so I'm going to give you tough love to scare you straight kind of way except it's directed at some minor flaw on the main character's part. Yes she may be too nice/letting the boyfriend stick around too long/rude to her mother but really? Must we be so hateful?
And because I can't think of a #10 here's one character I love -
10. Sir Harry Valentine from Julia Quinn's What Happened in London. Mostly because he realized Olivia was spying on him and starting wearing strange hats just to mess with her.