Book Reviews by Today, I Read…

A Continuous Book Review and Vocabulary Assignment

July 11

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[TSS] When An Author Doesn’t Know Her Characters…

by Ann-Katrina

It shows.

Have you ever started reading a book and then paused because one of the characters did something entirely out of character?

Don’t get me wrong, a good story will challenge a well-established character to step outside her normal boundaries and push the limits, yes, but that changed behavior rarely has an Invasion of the Body Snatchers feel to it. You’ll see the character is being tested and her actions will typically be in line with her personality.

For an example, I was reading a book (which shall remain nameless) wherein the main character was said to be independent, strong-willed, and an honour student. And every single one of her actions throughout the story contradicted these established personality traits. Every single one.

It was as though the author was trying to wedge the character into a mould which simply didn’t suit her. What it really boiled down to was the character having no motives for her actions and it screamed this author doesn’t know the first thing about who I am. And it made for painful reading.

This is something I see more of in contemporary Young Adult literature and I have to wonder if it’s because the authors believe they can “get away with it” because the young are less inclined to look beneath the surface? It also plagues some contemporary mainstream adult fiction and I have to wonder if it’s because the masses in general are less inclined to look beneath the surface, too.

Then again, maybe I’m the only one to notice this, or care. Maybe it is only all about the plot. Maybe characters don’t matter. Maybe I’m asking too much when I ask for both good characters and an entertaining plot. (But I believe strong character development can make a weak plot better and a good plot great. I could be wrong about that, too.)

OK, rant finished.

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