Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Open Mic: Talk to me, loyal blog minions.

I'm starting a new thing here at Adventures in Navy Wifing. Much like Friday Mancandy, this will be a semi-regular occurrence depending upon how it's received.

It's Tuesday Open Mic. (Tuesday being Japan time, so it may be Monday for some of you)

*tap tap* Is this thing on? Okay, then.

Here's how it's going to work: I will get a topic rolling, then open up the floor for my loyal blog minions to put in their two cents. Post your comments, reply to other people's comments, have at it.

Here's how it's worth your while: You get to speak your mind, and you're also entered to win an electronic copy of one of my books. Your choice of title, your choice of format (depending upon what I have available for the book in question). Occasionally, there may be other prizes, such as a print copy or something. Every comment you leave enters you into the drawing for the prize of the day. The only rule is that your comment must be relevant to the topic at hand. It can be in direct response to the topic, or a reply to someone else's comment, it just has to be of reasonable relevance to the topic. (And yes, these will be reasonable topics, not discussions of James Purefoy's shoulders or Shannon Leto's eyebrows...sorry, Scarlett)

There is no time limit for responding to a topic, but the drawing will occur one week from the day of the original post.

So, with the rules read and understood, let's get this inaugural Tuesday Open Mic going.

Today's Topic:

Flawed characters in fiction.

There's nothing more boring than a perfect character. Someone who does no wrong, who has the wisdom of a million lifetimes and uses it regularly, never has a hair out of place, and has never cheated on their taxes. But how much is too much? At what point does the person become unlikable, or do you start suspecting the author is fishing for gratuitous sympathy for this poor, miserable soul?

Think back to books you've read, and tell me about characters who were too perfect or too flawed. What worked? What didn't? What made you want to reach into the book and slap the character (or author)? What made your teeth grind? What character(s) had just the right balance of positive and negative?

The floor is now open.


  1. Neat idea!
    Earliest bad example? Becky Thatcher She should have clocked Tom Sawyer on a regular basis.

    One of the best example of "balance" are the main characters Robert Parker gave us in the Spenser novels.

  2. My favorite (very) flawed characters are Felix and Mildmay in Sarah Monette's Doctrine of Labyrinths series. They're so screwed up, and they have this amazingly unhealthy, codependent relationship that is beautiful and dreadful and completely fascinating.

    For me, something that went a bit too far was Josh Lanyon's Adrien English series. I hate to knock Josh, because he's the MASTER. And the fact that I was so pissed off at both characters that I literally threw my book across the room is a testament to what a great writer he is. BUT, by the end of the fourth book, I wasn't even relieved or happy to see Jake and Adrien finding their way back to each other. All I could think was, "those two fucked-up assholes deserve each other!"

    I have a TON of respect for Josh as a writer. Seriously, he's a genius. And yet, I won't read the fifth book in the series, and I'm scared to pick up any more of his books. It was just more emotional turmoil than I really want to endure.

    I guess I can't really say why Felix and Mildmay are okay in my book, and Jake and Adrien weren't. Felix and Mildmay are far more fucked up than Jake and Adrien. You know, maybe that's it, actually. Maybe Felix and Mildmay are SO fucked up that the reader can forgive them for their errors, whereas Jake and Adrien don't really have any excuse except that they're stupid assholes.

  3. Hmm, the only time I flung a book was down to bad characterisation (it was a TV show tie-in). That was a case of making the character too fucked up, when he really wasn't. Yes he could be arrogant, but it was usually when everyone else was being a moron. I'd have happily slapped that author.

    I think maybe LotR's Sam is too perfect, since most people (or hobbits) would have kicked Frodo to the curb for being an irritating twat. But I like Sam, he's loyal (to a fault?) and the real hero imo.

    But I like a flawed and/or reluctant hero. They are more interesting, especially if they grow as a character. Thinking of no one in particular... *innocent*