The Characters I Hate
Though I haven’t mentioned it, I have been reading. I’ve just started Tricia Drammeh’s newest (yay!) and next I have DM Yates Dimmidiums #2 to beta. Before those, I read a book that took much longer than it should have. It looked like a good book. It sounded like a good book. It had romance, it had action, it had excitement, it had adventure, it was decently edited – it even had hot men. So what was the problem?
The protagonist was a Mary Sue.
A Mary Sue is basically a character that every character in the book instantly loves. Mary usually solves all problems, is clever, witty, ultra talented, and if she has flaws they only serve to make her somehow cuter. Often she is a personification of what the author wishes she was, hence why everyone falls in love with this character. (You can read about the history of the term.)
So our character (we’ll call her Mary) has a full time white collar job – the kind of job that you never really stop working. To wind down she does gardening. I’m down with that. Then the author starts to tell us how teeny-weeny-tiny she is. (I can’t count how many times we hear about her “child-sized hands”). She’s itty bitty, barely weighs anything – fine. I’ll take it. Suddenly, we are told that she’s still curvy with full breasts and a “luscious ass” despite weighing “100 pounds wet”. Ugh, but okay. Now we introduce the idea that Mary works out daily, while working this over-time filled job, and gardening. Okay. Fine. Of course, by now the hero, who has just met her, is head over heals for her, despite his swearing he will never date again after some horrible incident years ago (but hey, Mary is so great that upon *seeing* her he throws that out the window), and all of his friends, who are normally prickly, distrustful, and suspicious, instantly warm to her because she’s so funny and clever and can finish their sentences and figure out the truth of what’s going on (and a love triangle ensues, but that’s another story). Ugh. Then the author reveals that our white collar full-time working, gardening, exercising, witty, clever, smart, almost-psychic woman is now a WEAPONS expert. WHAT??? Are you kidding me? And… we’re not even a third through the book yet.
I’ll give you a hint, it just keeps going like that. She’s so perfect, that I’d like to see them put her on an episode of Dr. Who to see if she and her teeny tiny hands could out-perfect Clara. (sarcasm) Add to that the non-stop lectures this character gives us via her thoughts. She is a vegan, only eats all natural organic food (to the point of chewing someone out at one point), refuses to use technology because it’s “bad for you” (despite the obvious job requirements to do so) to the tune of a three paragraph lecture (meanwhile readers are reading this lecture on their eReaders!), only uses all natural herbs and holistic medicines, and don’t get me started on her views on religion, blah, blah, blah.
I can’t help it. When faced with a Mary Sue character I am instantly transported back to a high school mentality and want nothing more than to see someone dump a vat of pigs blood on them (ala Carrie). Not only does it grate on my nerves, the same way that tiny little princess that everyone just love-love-loved back in school made me want to vomit, but it makes the character unrelatable and unbelievable.
Or maybe it’s just me. I’ve run into a lot of these characters (the aforementioned Clara on Dr. Who is a glaring example), and there are plenty of people who seem to like them. (In the case of Clara it seems to be mainly men, though, so maybe they’re not paying attention to her personality?) but when answering the question “What inspired you to write your book” on an interview form today, I thought of them – of all the perfect Mary Sues. Back in the day, that was the reason I started my vampire series. I’d run into three different books in a row that had Mary Sue plain Jane who stumbles into fantasy land and within a week turns into a vampire/werewolf/monster killer. Um, no. Just, no. No ordinary woman is going to be able to turn into a ninja-style fighter over night (at least Mary was a work-out-aholic weapons expert to start with!). The characters also never faced consequences, despite being involved in incidents police would be called for, and there was never any mention of repercussions for any of their actions. Those things bugged the crap out of me then, and they bug me now.
How about you? What kinds of characters do you find annoying?
And while I’m here, enjoy some more random photos.
Have a Mary Sue kinda day!