We are pleased to have the witty Sam Cheever with us today. She is talking about characters who are Too Stupid To Live and giving away a copy of her latest release, YESTERDAY'S NEWS to one lucky commenter. So don't forget to comment. Enjoy!
What makes a character too stupid to live? I’m sure everybody has a unique list of traits that make them root for the bad buy to succeed in taking out the hero/heroine. Since I write adventurous paranormal and romantic suspense/mystery, I tend to couch my TSTL descriptions in thriller/horror movie terms. Here are the traits that might make me pick up a chainsaw and join the killer in the hunt:
1. A total disregard for the intelligence of walking into that dark, spooky house alone and unarmed…or out of the house into the shadow-drenched yard where a guy holding a chainsaw and wearing a hockey goalie’s mask awaits. Yeah, nice guys always lurk around holding chainsaws and wearing masks. Yeesh!
2. The proclivity to do the same things over and over and yet be surprised by the result. Let’s see, I’ll just go down these basement stairs and see what’s making that thumping noise. Yikes! A horrifying killer…ack…he sliced off my arm! Retreat…Oh, I wonder what’s making that scraping noise in the attic? I’ll just climb the attic stairs and… Argh! A terrifying slasher…ugh…he sliced off my leg! Retreat… Is it really too much to ask for the hero to figure out it’s not a great idea to pursue the cause of the latest scary noise before he looks like the Black Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. ‘Tis but a scratch.
3. The oh-so-obvious ploy for attention—such as wearing a sleeveless black dress with half her boobs hanging out to go ice skating. Mm hmm. Or four-inch, spiked heels in a chase scene. Really? Actually I blame producers for this. Please stop insulting my intelligence!
4. Then there’s the whiny, emotionally weak character. All that angst and whining puts my teeth on edge. Give me Vampire Pam in True Blood any day. At least she does something about what hacks her off, rather than just sitting around her apartment, whining about how horrible her life is, and eating Ben and Jerry’s in her bathrobe. Ugh!
5. The judgmental yet hypocritical character. I’m all for expecting the people we care about to be the best they can be, but let’s not expect perfection. I can’t stand the character who is continually judging her love interest for real or perceived flaws while amping up her own flaw tally with abandon. “I can’t believe you forgot to put the cap back on the toothpaste…it’s over between us.” “But honey, you slept with the grocery delivery guy yesterday.” “Don’t deflect, we’re talking about you right now.”
6. The clueless lover. Have you ever read a book with this character? Everybody in the story knows that the guy who lives down the street adores her. Everybody but her. Somehow she misses the constant, love-sick vibes he sends her way…or the way he’s always there almost before she needs him and will do anything for her—anything—including losing his job/health/mind to keep her safe. Don’t you just want to smack this clueless wonder upside the head? Gack!
I could probably go on and on and on…but you get the idea. Characters like these are enough to turn me off a book/movie and the author who created them for a long, long time. What characteristic(s) make a character TSTL for you? Let me know in a comment and I’ll add you to a drawing for a download of my fun cozy mystery, Yesterday’s News. Make sure you include your email!
Antiques can be a dangerous business. Especially when you’re dealing with a desperate politician, a sexy ex-cop, and a couple of “spirited” companions.
Anna Yesterday owns Yesterday’s Antiques in small town USA. When she finds an old newspaper clipping lining the drawer of an antique dresser, she realizes she’s never heard the ugly story of rape and suicide detailed on the yellowed newsprint. So she starts to dig, and her sleuthing exposes an ugly cover-up that casts the residents of Crocker, Indiana into danger and intrigue, and leaves them with a corpse.
"With a sexy ex-cop (who doesn’t love a romantic element), ghosts and a mystery that kept me riveted how could I resist? If you like paranormal elements and romance with your cozy mysteries
then I recommend this one."
~ Cozy Mystery Book Reviews
then I recommend this one."
~ Cozy Mystery Book Reviews
For more information on Sam Cheever visit: http://www.samcheever.com/
My least favorite TSTL character is the one who fights her rescuer at every opportunity. He's there to keep her safe...she runs away from him. He tells her she needs to do X...she does Y. After a while, you wonder why she hasn't already been hacked apart by her maniacal stalker/ex-boyfriend/international superspy who thinks she has his hard drive/whatever.ReplyDelete
LOL, yes!!! I hate that character too. I'm just as independent as the next girl but you don't need to be stupid about it. Let the guy help you...and then dump his butt if you need to. LOL Thanks for sharing, Leslie!Delete
There's just too many characters I've come across in all the reading I've done,its hard to pick just one !! lol :-)ReplyDelete
I hear ya, Ruth. And as women we tend to be kind of hard on the heroines, don't you think? I usually like the heroes better than the heroines, which is interesting since the fun of a great book is putting yourself into the heroine's place and living her life for a while. Maybe that's why, now that I think about it. I don't want some TSTL chick being me...even for a couple hundred pages. LOLDelete
Thanks for stopping by!
Nice post. Don't like heroines who don't tell the hero they have a kid together and no good reason is givenReplyDelete
Yeah,that isn't very nice, I agree. Thanks for stopping by.Delete
Oh, love this topic Sam. Huge numbers of books (and movies) contain TSTL heroines. Not so much heroes, unless you count those who continually rush in to save the day against the odds - again and again. Why not take stock of the situation first? TSTL heroines are my bete noir. What the hell? Why would she DO that? And I agree with Leslie - some guy tries to keep you safe and you keep running away straight into trouble. I simply don't bother persevering with books that contain irritating people. And if I sound irritable, well then, there are a lot of books out there like that.ReplyDelete
LOL, yes there are! And there are way too many people like that in real life...who needs to read about them in books! Thanks for checking in, Vonnie!Delete
Love all your examples, Sam, and you've pretty much covered them all, but...(and almost all romantic comedy movies have these). The guy tries to tell her he's a...Whatever, but she interrupts him to tell him something that gives him a reason not to tell her after all. Then she says...and you were saying? Then when she finds out he's a...whatever, she gets all hysterical on him and wants to break up. I don't know if the guy in this scenario is a TSTL or the girl.ReplyDelete
OMG! That's one of my pet peeves too! In this case I think you'd have to give the hero a pass. He's just trying to stay out of the dog house. #:0) This comes very close to my category of the heroine who expects the hero to be perfect while she's riddled with flaws! LOLDelete
Great example, Rita!
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Your list made me laugh out loud, Sam, mostly because I agree with every example you gave. Number 3 hit home though.....the chase scene in the 4 inch high heels....and she falls every time (because truthfully, no one can run in four inch heels!). Ugh! I'd love to see a character take off those four-inch high-heels and beat the heck out of the bad guy with them!ReplyDelete
Oh, great idea, Marie. Then at least the stupid things would have a purpose! #:0) I'm with you, I HATE that they always make the heroine fall. Come on people, men can trip over a crack too! Once in a while I'd like to see the guy biff instead. LOLDelete
Thanks so much for chiming in.
LOL, love all your examples, Sam, but especially walking into a spooky house. You just want to rev up the chainsaw and take care of them yourself! Cheers!ReplyDelete
LOL, it'd be faster, eh? Thanks Sharon!Delete
Love the topic and you've hit some of my favorite TSTL ploys. My favorite (?) is when the writer has the character do something so out of character (the one she's worked so hard to establish) just to move the story in a certain direction that you're rooting for that character to die a horrible death.ReplyDelete
Sigh... yep, those are the times when you long for interactive viewing for sure. "Yes, Mr. Killer, I'd be happy to hold your chain saw for you while you chase down the hero." REVVVVVVDelete
LOL Thanks, Nancy!
Great post, Sam. You gave me a good chuckle on a snowy Chicago night! Along the line of the clueless lover is the meddling matchmaker orchestrating outlandish meetings that neither character would be caught dead doing because it's so out of their personalities.ReplyDelete
Thanks Lyndee! I'm in Indiana, it looks like we got pretty close to the 9 inches we were supposed to get. Hopefully you fared better!Delete
Oh yes, the matchmaker. Those are definitely chainsaw worthy! LOL Thanks for checking in!
I love this post Sam. TSTL heroines are pretty annoying but not as bad as TPTL (Too perfect to live). They pop up a lot in historical romance. Heroine is beautiful, curvy (but not podgy) stragihtbacked, befriends orphans and stray animals, does charitable work,constantly blushes. Oh - and a virgin of course. LOLReplyDelete
Yes!!! I strongly agree, in fact I just blogged about this as my alter ego Declan Sands. I've always said characters need to be flawed to be likable. Nobody appreciates a perfect character. You can't identify with them and they make you feel inferior. #:0)Delete
Thanks so much for adding that one, Susan!