Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Top Four…

…Character Types I Don’t Want to See Anymore.

This was originally going to be five but I got lazy ran out of time before I could think up another one. Honestly, these four stink enough that it makes up its own fifth entry.

The Serial Killer Out For Revenge
This one has been done to boring, hackneyed death. Mostly it’s on television, but I’ve read more than a few books that have to beat this dead horse, too. He (because it’s always a male) is fixated on the main character, breaks out of jail and stalks him/her, is Hannibal-esque to varying degrees. It was probably done the worst in the Alex Cross novels, but then again nothing in those books resembles sense anyway. This trope is often done to give a Sherlock Holmes a Professor Moriarty as if it will somehow make the story interesting. Hint: it doesn’t work.

The Awkward Genius
This is something books rarely use but television almost always does. Because if someone is incredibly intelligent and adept at problem solving, then they obviously have no idea how to interact with people. Apparently social skills are the only thing about their brains that isn’tsupersized. They also have to be huge fans of Star Trek, Star Wars, and all manner of comic books. Intelligence does not equal isolation. I wish people would remember that.

Jerk with a Heart of Gold
Or basically, a guy (usually) who seems like a jerk but is actually misunderstood, usually by the heroine who ends up falling for him. There’s usually a flimsy excuse for his jerkass behavior, like a difficult childhood or the death of a loved one. These characters are so flat, they aren’t even two dimensional—yes, they only exist in the theoretical first dimension. True, there are examples of this being done well—Bruce Wayne in the Chris Nolan Batman movies, Sawyer from Lost—but a lot of times they just seem like excuses for a woman to “save” the heart and soul of a broken man.

The Beta Guy
You know, the Jacob, the Gale, the one who tries and fails to end up with the main female character. I dislike these characters for the same reason I dislike the Vengeful Serial Killer—they’re there to create something (in this case romantic/sexual tension). Granted, they can be fully fledged characters in their own right, but it always takes a backseat to the dreaded Love Triangle, leaving them underdeveloped and no one surprised when they fail to win the lady’s hand.

Any characterizations you’re sick of?


  1. Kinda the other side of the coin from #1: The Main Character out for Revenge. In an Indigo Montoya kind of way. See also: Patrick Jane on The Mentalist. Waaaaay too overdone.

  2. The main character in my book is super smart, athletic, charming and very sociable. I think he's sexy. So I think I've burst through this cliche :)

  3. How about the male cop who protects the female hottie that the serial killer is after - and then falls in love with her and just barely saves her in time? :)

  4. I have to admit that I am sick of the awkward genius. That one seems to be thrown in everywhere.

  5. So what type of characters do you love?

  6. You're so right, lol! It's all been done before. I guess the trick is to get the right / different combination.

  7. I'm not a fan of the serial killer out for revenge either. And I really get annoyed with love triangles that are little better than plot devices. I never got the Gale one. We never really got to know him. And when we did see him in book 3, it was pretty obvious which way Katniss would end up going.

  8. The vampire as the hero bit is vastly overdone... particularly when he's sparkly.


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