August 03, 2012

3 Main Character Types That Drive Me Nuts

As I've been working on several projects these days, I've been contemplating the female protagonist, because--let's face it--the main character in every one of my books thus far has been a girl. Probably because males are a mystery to me. I'm married to one, I have a father, I have a brother, I interact with guys, but they're just not what I know. And a rule of writing? Write what you know. I definitely know about being a girl :)

So many books I read these days (and I'm applying this general stereotype to YA fiction since I don't read a lot else) have flawed female protagonists. I'm fine with flawed. After all, I've never met a person who's perfect. But there are some female protagonists that just drive me nuts. Absolutely and completely. For example:

The Robot Warrior. See Amanda Hocking's Hollowland (if you're not too squeamish about the zombie violence, because it's pretty gory). Remy is so tough and so driven that I had a hard time relating to her. Especially when she decides to abandon a friend who had been attacked by zombies and barely gave it a second thought, but then two seconds later decides to adopt a lion she finds along the way. Because, you know, lions are basically great big kittens and she couldn't bear to leave it behind. Wait, what? Sure, the lion makes a great sidekick, so I could look past it. But Remy hardly gets a tender moment.

The Damsel in Distress. See Twilight. Sure I got sucked into these books and couldn't put them down for days. They're entertaining and Stephenie Meyer tells a great story. But when it was all said and done, I thought, "Good thing Edward/Jacob are there. Bella would be toast a thousand times over." She was a moper and pretty much helpless.

The Indecisive Girl. See The Hunger Games. Sure, Katniss could fire an arrow and outwit/outlast/outplay an arena full of blood-thirsty kids, but could she pick a boy to save her life? I know it was all in the name of the "love triangle." Peeta and Gale were both such great characters. They should have run as far as they could when they saw her coming. It was like a train wreck and they just couldn't look away.

The funny thing about these books? I really enjoyed them. They were entertaining to read. So it's a tribute to the authors that they could make highly readable books.

What kinds of characters drive you crazy?


  1. I didn't read the first book mentioned but totally agree with you! But like you I get so sucked into these books when I finish them I say hey wait a minute! Katnis was so annoying in that way yea she was badass and awesome but she could never make make a choice! Bella was just a little stupid every minute she got she was ready to die. Which is the biggest thing she could do since she only human but she needed some self preservation!

  2. Honestly? It drives me nuts when weak, whiny, "humble" (read: unrealistically low self-esteem) girls are the "strong protoganist". Not because they've discovered their strengths and played on them, but because some boy came along. I think it sends the wrong message to young girls when we prize humility that borders on (or is) low self-esteem.