Here at Deadly Darlings, we’d like to talk about 5 Deadly Sins no book should ever commit.
5. HAVING A BAD CASE OF INSTALOVE
What is it? Instalove is when two characters meet and immediately fall in love with no clue as to who the other individual actually is.
Why is it a sin? Not only is instalove of highly rare occurrence in real life, but in fiction, it is an author’s excuse (intended or not) to save the time and effort needed to develop characters and their relationships in depth.
Instalove takes away the magic and chemistry between two characters who should provide the reader with an awe-filled and heart-warming romance. Instead, it hastens relationships, which in turn makes these relationships, who could have had potential, ludicrous and immature. Plus, it’s really annoying.
What is it? Stereotypes are widely known, oversimplified ideas or images of a particular type of person or thing.
Why is it a sin? Although stereotypes may or may not accurately reflect a person or thing, they are offensive most of the time. Repeatedly using these stereotypes to describe characters quickly becomes annoying and unoriginal. Stereotyping characters actually leads to a lack of character development and three-dimension. The worst part is that characters who are stereotyped are usually the sidekicks, who in truth, are never portrayed as more than their stereotypes.
For example, authors love to include ridiculously smart Asian characters in their books, and there’s nothing wrong with that, because there are ridiculously smart Asian children. However, when these authors take it to the extreme of only emphasizing on the child’s intelligence, giving the child no other qualities that make him/her human, and revolving the child’s life around school and work, it becomes a stereotype, because there is nothing else redeeming or complex about the child. If authors would simply switch stereotypes up a bit and add some spice, imagine the enjoyment we readers would experience.
3. HAVING “SPECIAL SNOWFLAKES”
What are they? Also known as Mary Sue/Gary Stu’s, special snowflakes are characters, usually being the protagonist, that are supremely special (for no reason at all). They are SO special, in fact, that the plot conveniently works in their favor every single time and are given preferential treatment and unearned respect.
An example of a special snowflake would be America Singer from The Selection series.
Why is it a sin? We see it all the time; the protagonist is written to have some sort of rare and astounding quality to let the reader know that the character is, in fact, special. Maybe the special feature is purple eyes, one eye, or white hair. Whatever it may be, it is evident to the reader that the feature is what makes the character out of this world and important.
The problem with special snowflakes is that everything goes their way; they randomly find solutions to problems and are perfect in every single way. We were told that America Singer wasn’t really that pretty, that she had a low status, and that she didn’t want to participate in the Selection. Yet she ended up as a competitor in the Selection, is apparently beautiful without even trying (oh, so modest!), and made a prince fall in love with her even after she was rude and hit him! I’m sorry, but you can’t tell me that a girl who knees a prince in the crotch is going to get away with it, much less make him fall in love with her. Telling me that is a sin, my friend!
2. HAVING SEXISM
What is it? Prejudice and discrimination on the basis of sex.
Why is it a sin? Writing characters to be weak or lesser in comparison to the opposite gender is not tolerable. We’ve all read before about a female character who must depend on the help of a man to escape the situation she’s in. We’ve all read about female characters who are tough only because they grew up with brothers (which basically implies that a girl apparently can’t be tough if she doesn’t have brothers?). We’ve all read about male characters that are as emotionless as a rock because they “should not” be sensitive and should “act like a man.” We’ve all read about a short guy who is constantly being rejected because his height is not “acceptable” to his gender. Incorporating sexism into books only encourages these incorrect ideas into the minds of millions of readers around the world.
1. ROMANTICIZING SERIOUS TOPICS
What is it? When serious topics (such as kidnapping, cheating, rape, abuse, stalking, etc.) are written as acceptable or romantic. Great examples of this are Stolen: A Letter to My Captor and Fifty Shades of Grey.
Why is it a sin? Serious topics are exactly that: serious. Anyone writing about such topics should address the issue appropriately. When there is cheating in a book, it should not be excused by saying that the feelings were “uncontrollable” and the characters were “meant to be”; when there is abuse, both physical and emotional, it should not be excused by “intense” feelings or because the characters are “meant to be”; when there is rape, it should not be excused by saying it was a “mistake” and everything is “okay”; when there are kidnappings, it should not be excused by saying “oops, I fell in love with my captor”; so on. Newsflash: a handful of people have experienced traumatizing events, and using these events and situations as a device to romanticize characters is wrong.
Do you agree with any of the 5 sins? Can you think of any other book sins?
I’m Sara, a Colombian teenager with a never-ending enjoyment for reading. I’m a Netflix and Disney enthusiast and my monumental obsession is coffee, so I can do nothing with more energy.