In a recent blog by Marty Coleman called “Have You Annoyed Anyone Lately,” I found a lot to consider. His point was that your characters cannot all be perfect, because if they were it would be quite annoying—the wrong kind of annoying.
He points out that as writers we need to create conflict to keep our stories and our characters real and interesting. Conflict doesn’t happen when everyone is nice to each other all the time. Boredom happens. Conflict creates drama and tension. Boredom creates naps. And Flo from the insurance commercials.
When I began to look more closely at my stories, I saw that many of my main characters were nice, maybe a little too nice. Perhaps, because I find a lot of annoying people in my real life, I subconsciously didn’t want them to show up in my books. Powerless to change them in real life, maybe “editing” their personalities made me feel powerful in real fiction.
Upon further study of my work, I realized I did indeed have one very annoying person in both novels. It is the protagonist. This discovery excited me. I felt vindicated.
However, I noticed something else. Since my novels are written from a first person point-of-view, often my protagonists are a lot, well, like me.
Ergo, I am annoying. Often, I want to slap my protagonist (ergo, me) for being so stubborn, so angry, so impatient, so prideful, so petty, so slow to get it (ergo, me).
Like right now. How annoying is it to use the word “ergo” three times in one paragraph? Sheesh.
I’m asking my readers, “What do you find annoying in an author or a story?” Let me know . . . please . . . so I won’t do it.