(This is Lynn's Monday Ten post for this week -Tom)
Ten Things I Hate About Your Protagonist
1. Abracadabra Erection Dude: Whenever your protag comes within the line of sight of the love interest, he raises a pole in his pants. Every time. So is this guy mainlining Cialis, or what? Also, the tenting-the-pants reference? Boring now. Please think up another boner euphemism.
2. Freckle Sprinkle Girl: For some reason the freckled protag only has a cute little collection of maybe six freckles on her nose. Real women with freckles generally have them all over: on the shoulders, chest, thighs, keister, everywhere. Personally the only place on my body that isn't freckled are the palms of my hands and the bottoms of my feet. Do the freckles right or lose them.
3. Inexplicably Stumped PI: The mystery PI protag who cannot figure out whodunit until the last page of the book when I got it by page 50? Kill him or her and make someone else the protag. Or I will in my next novel.
4. Love Scene Interruptus: If your protag has more than two love scenes interrupted before mutual cookies are had, he or she is pissing off your reader. Have them do what everyone who gets interrupted does: unplug the phones, lock the doors, turn off the cell phones, pagers and whatnot, put Rover in his kennel, leave the shotgun on the nightstand and keep a can of mace within reach.
5. Needle Teeth: If your vampire protag leaves "pinprick" holes in his blood donor's flesh, it means he or she has needle-thin teeth. Which makes him or her a pinhead. If you're writing vamp fiction but have never personally bitten anyone, take a standard #2 pencil and stab a piece of styrofoam. See the hole it leaves? That's about the size of a standard vamp bite wound. Double it and you've got the bite mark. And repeat after me: Puncture wounds are not pinprick-size unless THEY ARE MADE WITH A PIN.
6. Oncoming Betrayal Headlights: When to rethink the simplicity of your plot and your protag's brain: 1) if the protag cannot see the Major Screw-Over coming at them at warp ten until the anti-matter reactor blows, 2) it involves the protag's love interest and the protag's best friend having wild monkey sex on the protag's bed, desk, sofa or car backseat, or 3) your beta reader spends three chapters muttering, "Come ON, dumbass, wake UP."
7. Supermodel Family Girls: It's been my experience that stunningly beautiful women are devoted to their mirrors, their hairdressers, their mirrors, their botox treatments, their fasting regimes, their mirrors, and their mirrors. If your Heidi Klum-Klone protag was a real woman, she'd be too busy getting parts of herself waxed to have time to spend the afternoon with Stroke-Afflicted Mom at the Disneyworld version of a nursing home.
8. Too Sexy for His Shirt: If your protag spends more than half the novel wearing only cut-offs or pants, you are naked chest-obsessed and he's probably freezing. Put some clothes on him for God's sake.
9. Unconvincing Flaws: Forgetting to water the plants, giggling and dropping things are not character flaws. They're what my twelve year old does when she's not watching Animal Planet or playing The Sims. Give me the real deal.
10. Wolverine Wounds: (Majorie can skip this one) When your human protag is significantly wounded, and does not receive professional medical treatment, they should feel some pain, ooze, groan, experience weakness and dizziness, pass out or at least need to go lie down for a while. This is not the time they should take on the Evil Overlord and his minions, have a sex marathon with the love interest, climb a mountain, duel, run laps, work out, or all of the above. If the wound is open and they do all that stuff they will BLEED TO DEATH.