i know what you mean!

character integrity, precedent, and other gripes

Posted on: January 17, 2015

I was reading a pretty satisfying romance online (as usual, nothing new) and it was rather refreshing to read a low key love story with minimal drama, a quasi-realisitic story of 2 people who are rational and independent adults falling in love and treating each other with (shocking) respect and courtesy.  Pretty much the kind of stuff that doesn’t sell well in drama land I guess.  But anyhow, the writing was very decent and most importantly, the charters were treated with lots of care and have depths.  Until I get to the last few chapters and it was like getting slammed in the face with “what the hell is this crap?”  It was as if the writer got so tired of these two happy rational people that she said oh well, what the heck, let’s just separate them… for the stupidest reason that makes no sense, screwing all kinds of character integrity.

I’m actually a very forgiving reader who is capable of giving into suspense of belief once given a few bones.  A lot of Chinese romance writers I like, their plots are often nothing original, but it’s all in their art of characterization.  They breathe life into their characters so that when all kinds of kitchen sinks get thrown into the plot, the characters still come through with their character integrity in tact.  If this sense of character integrity is not maintained, a reader like me often gives up rooting for the characters, and eventually walks away from the story not giving a damn.

Humans are naturally unpredictable, so to me, it’s perfectly fine to have characters act uncharacteristically from time to time, BUT, if the moment they act uncharacteristically is the climax of the story, there should be precedents to hint at what’s to come.  If it’s a psychological scar, then this psychological problem should be brought up at least 2 times to help build up to the climax. Especially when the climax is consisted of the character acting like a moron , totally uncalled for, for no good reason, after behaving like a perfectly rational human being for 60 chapters.  Sighs.  Way to ruin a good story.


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