Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tuesday Says Stop Being Boring

Attention, everyone. Yeah. You. Sit down. I have a Public Service Announcement for you.

Listen. Everyone is special, different, and unique. Each person has a story to tell, a background, and characteristics that sets him or her apart from every other person's set of stories, backgrounds, and characteristics. Not everyone is drop-dead gorgeous, not everyone is the Hunchback of Notre-Dame, and not everyone is plain-looking except it turns out if they actually straighten their hair or something they're actually beautiful even though they were beautiful all along everyone just pretended not to notice.

We all know this.

So please, will someone clue in the main characters?

At least half of the books I read (or start reading) have the main character describing herself as "boring" or "plain." Every one of them seems to have plain, straight brown hair and dull gray/brown eyes. Phrases like "My best friend is the exciting one. I am not exciting at all" run rampant. Main characters apparently do nothing, like nothing, and look like nothing exciting.

Yeah. That's boring.

Except, that's not true. Of the books I finish, the main characters reveal their quirks, passions, styles, aspirations, and other exciting character traits as the story progresses, as if the whole "I'm boring" routine exists to psych out the reader. Also, in general these main characters get told in detail how beautiful they are, so there goes the "I'm plain" theory as well.

I propose main characters skip the first step--the "I'm boring" step. I mean, why would a reader continue to read about a character that blatantly tells them they're not exciting? I have never heard someone say, "Wow, I really want to get to know XYZ, she sounds so boring." (Not even sarcastically.) I'm not saying main characters should start a story with "The top ten reasons I am awesome: ..." (though, come to think of it, that would be a good hook). But main characters should let the reader decide for him/herself how boring they are.

I'm glad we had this little talk.

Happy Tuesday!