Writers are encouraged to give their characters fears, flaws or foibles for several reasons. I know I hate to read about “perfect” people. They remind me of the annoying kids in the “In Crowd” in high school, the kids with the new cars and the cool clothes who got onto the Honor Roll and into the best schools without breaking a sweat or needing a scholarship. They were already living their happy ending, or at least it looked that way when I was a young jealouspuss.
I’m mature enough now to agree with Roseanne Roseannadanna: “It’s always something.” You never know what hidden misery lurks behind that perfectly brace-less smile and cheerleader uniform. Thus has my well-earned wisdom spared me from watching the new crop of teen reality shows. There’s always plenty of angst to go around.
So, I’ve been toying with what makes a good, reasonable quirk for a hero or heroine to have. I’ve read about those afraid of thunderstorms, commitment, going blind/insane, horses, performance failure, dancing, etc.
If I were my own heroine, I’d have major rodent aversion. Lately, we have been overrun with field mice, which’ve abandoned the snowy pastures and are holing up in drawers, basement boxes, and my pantry closet. The other night one ran into the bathroom while I was—uh, using it, and I’m surprised you didn’t hear me scream wherever you live.
We are now hosting a Decon buffet throughout the house, since the little bastards just licked the peanut butter and cheese off the spring-traps. I’m leaving the hall light on so there are no furry surprises as I stumble around in the night. My grandmother was similarly afflicted with mouse mania; I remember her leaping up onto a chair when she was in her seventies, the most exercise she’d gotten in decades.
There is no rational reason to be afraid of tiny, cute creatures, but I hate them with an all-consuming passion. And it’s not because I’m concerned about that virus they can harbor, either. Even if they presented me with a clean bill of health from a vet, I’d want them dead.
Do you have any mouse tales? Any irrational fears? What about characters in books, either your own or someone else’s?
Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself. ~Samuel Butler