Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Vice Redux (Complete with wacky camel pic, of course.)

On Monday we discussed virtue and vice, and where we fell on the great Virtue-Vice scale.

In keeping with that theme, let's extend it to fictional characters.

Oh, hell. Let's just skip the virtues and go straight for the good stuff. (Yeah, patience is not one of my virtues.)

My main character in IN A FIX swears, drinks, blurts out ill-advised words when under stress, and occasionally bites her fingernails*. (But all in a *cough* charming way. Naturally.)

If you're a reader, what are your favorite vices in the characters you read?

If you're a writer, what vices do you like to give your characters? Or, if you write like I do, what kind to they appear fully equipped with in your head?

Also, is there a vice you just can't tolerate in a character? Me, I'd have a tough time getting past a protag who habitually spit. Or chewed tobacco. Or scratched his/her privates. What's your deal-breaker?

And, since it is Wednesday (HAPPY HUMP DAY!), we must have a camel pic:

How's that for a vice?

*Does biting fingernails even qualify as a vice? What elevates a bad habit into a full-fledged vice, anyway? Now, there's a philosophical question for you. Wax away.


Sarah Tokeley said...

Anything remotely sensible I might have had to say completely left my head when I saw that fantastic picture.

Where DO you find them?

Jessica Lemmon said...

Hmm, you've made me think. Which I do not like to do this early in the morning. *frown*

I like to read (& have written) drinking as a vice. It can have such comedic possibility - whether she's stumbling into the ladies room to drop her phone in the toilet, (I've NEVER done that. It was a pager.) or she's bursting into tears with one of her girlfriends.

It's always nice to remove your heroine's "filter" for a while. You won't believe what she'll say after a bottle of wine. ;)

Kerry Schafer said...

I can handle pretty nearly any vice in a character, as long as there is some sense of human decency and they care about somebody or something other than themselves at least a little. I hate narcissistic amoral characters and can't be bothered to waste my time on them.

abby mumford said...

vices are a tricky road. we all have them, but hopefully, we all have other redeeming qualities to balance ourselves out. i want the same thing in a character -- except, maybe a bit more exaggerated, since i'm not over the top, i like to read about people who are. :)

p.s. that camel pic is disturbing.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Where DO you find these camel pictures? I'm beginning to think you have a pet camel in your backyard and you set these up yourself!

One of my protag lied all the time, especially to get herself out of uncomfortable situations. After spending a long time with her (over a year), I wanted to try something different for my next character. So I made her excessively truthful. She blurts out everything that pops into her head.

Interesting that telling lies and telling too much truth can both be vices, huh?

Trisha Leigh said...

My characters are kind of vice-free - except for snark. Is snark a vice when elevated to an art form?

Chew on that.

Also, that picture? I'm not sure you'll ever top it.

Deborah Small said...

Love the pic! (Poor camel). :)

Carol Kilgore said...

I almost spewed my coffee. What a photo!

My line in the sand is whiney characters, especially when all they whine about is me, me, me. I close the book.

Steph Schmidt said...

First, poor camel. I can't tolerate "self suffering" characters, the ones where things have gone wrong but they won't take credit for causing it. Instead they'll just go huff off to the corner and simmer about how everyone is out to get them. They make me want to dent my wall with books.

Michele Shaw said...

Like some other commenters, I had a thought that went buh-bye when I saw that picture! Oh, but wait, I do have a pet peeve! I hate characters who are stupid just to advance the plot. That's cheating!

Isis Rushdan said...

Love that pic, lol!

I need balance in characters. It's fine to have vices (we all do), but give a few virtues as well.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Without a doubt, you come up with the BEST camel pictures!

I can tolerate almost any vice in a character if it's balanced by some kind of redeeming quality. Only thing I can't bear is an evil-to-the-core character who leads a charmed life and suffers no consequences.

Anonymous said...

Laughing my head off, as usual! I'm truly impressed with your camels.

Like @Carol, I won't tolerate whining, but just about everything else is fair game, as long as the character is likable.

I probably push the limits in my books. One of my main characters is a Harley-riding blues musician who crochets in his spare time and doesn't hesitate to announce that he's "gotta take a dump".

I hope he's likable enough to get away with it.

Kimberly Sabatini said...

I think this is your best camel yet! I have to agree, I've been wondering how you get all these camel shots. <3

Unknown said...

I agree with Kim, this is the best camel yet!

And about vices? When I read, I find it funny to see how characters act under the influence of alcohol!
And I think I would tolerate anything as long as it is really well done ;)

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

Well, I had some answers for you till I saw that camel. Bwa ha ha!

Kelly Breakey said...

I think you are really part of a secret chain smoking camel nation that we can't see because you have put a spell on us. Where else would you get all of these great camel photos?

Teri Anne Stanley said...

euuww...spitting, yeah, that's a deal breaker for me. Nose picking, probably, too.

I prefer "Quirks" for my characters, if it's something they are going to keep (like talking too much when nervous, or something like that) or "Character defects" if they are going to quit (like smoking or drinking or constantly trying to pry their underwear out of their buttcracks. My characters don't wear thongs, although the occassional commando situation may arise...).

Patsy said...

I like vices which are ones I have, or could have in the 'right' situation. I don't (usually)like characters who have vices I don't think I'd ever get involved in. Maybe it's all a case of wanting to identify with the character.

Al said...

All my characters are angels.
Ok I am lying.