Mar 30, 2010

People DO Have More than One Side

Fact of life. 

Everywhere you go, there is someone around being rude to someone else. Random strangers will give you dirty looks for no apparent reason, dogs will pee on your lawn, police will be jerks and hand you a speeding ticket unless you look like Marilyn friggen Monroe, and there will be that one jerk who women just fall the **** all over. Oh, and there will even be that one coworker who fails to wear a skirt that actually her ass. Yes, you women out there should no by now that showing crack at the office is not cool. And, no matter who you are, you've developed your own terms for certain types of people. I don't care if you've never even said your terms out loud, you've made them up or gotten them from somewhere. 

And, eventually, your environment breaks you down. The term is called "having a bad day," and it's something many people have. So, why can't characters?

Everyone has their off days. And, I recently read the third book of a series that the MC had a really bad day. I mean BAD. Her entire day took place in less than 12 hours, apparently. Loved seeing another side of her and could totally understand why she was so much more fed up with life.

Then, I went to (Quick shout out to those who, like me, enjoy checking out the reviews of recently read books to see if what you thought worked and didn't lined up with how most reviewers felt.) And, the negative reviews of this book were ASTOUNDING.

Pretty sure my jaw drooped at that point. Many people said the MC was out of character. But, to me, I felt her slightly more pissed off view of the world was more than just with what she had to deal with. 

So, here's my question (one that I suddenly realized I have no idea what the answer is):
At one point does a character go from being in a bad mood to being out of character? In other words, how long can you readers put up with a characters unusual yet justified attitude before feeling like the attitude is no longer justified? How long do you think a character deserves to feel a certain way about something before shrinking back to the old personality and getting things done, so to speak?

And, on the opposite side, how long do you feel like a character in a book can act the same way without eventually feeling flat or like he/she hasn't gone through enough character development?


SB said...

I don't know. Hard to guess. Because I guess it depends on the span of the story and events unfolding...

not too serious i hope

ps. love the new look!

Fey said...

I agree with the commenter before me. But, if a whole novel the character is in a bad mood or some other uncharacteristic emotion then there better be a damn good reason for it. I think it's a good thing you don't know the answer because i don't think any of us do. it definitely depends on the novel and even then tons of readers disagree/see things differently.

Karen said...

Personaly I like to see the characters change -evolve- and if that means that they get put in a situtaion that would make them pissy (if justified) for one book that would be fine by me. I hate when the MC has the same reactions - or even worse the same phrases to situations over a series.
I guess on the other hand - you don't want the MC to react in a way that throws you off entirely so that it seems like a different person or isn't consistant with the series.
But on the whole I like different!

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tahereh said...

ooo.. tough question. i usually grow to know my characters enough that i don't even think about it -- those transitions just become.. natural? gosh i'm not sure. i've never really thought about it before..

thanks for this. great post.
makes you wonder.

Samantha Bennett said...

As long as I can sense the motivational cause for a character's anger, despair, etc, I'm all for it. Love to see characters rattled. :) Great post!

jdcoughlin said...

I love Janet Evanovich's character Stephanie Plum. It's entertainment reading at its most enjoyable. It is a good romp. She doesn't grow and develop, not much anyway, but I love her. I look forward to her. I guess it depends on the book.