Thursday, September 03, 2009

Hot Buttons

Do you have a situation/conflict/kind of character you just can’t read about?

I ran across one last night. I’ve been meandering my way through Snow Falling on Cedars and rather enjoying it until the story suddenly grated across my worst, I-don’t-want-to-read-about-it, don’t-want-to-think-about-it issue. So what’s my hot button?

A character getting cheated out of or foolishly losing his money.

I know, I know; this says volumes about me and none of it is nice. But it's one of my worst nightmares and I don't want to go there.

I know people who can’t read about the murder of children (I have a hard time with that one, but it won’t stop me cold). Other friends say they can’t read about a character who commits adultery.

So what’s your “hot button”?


M.A. Lucier said...

I can't seem to read books featuring male private investigators (females are okay). And, if any character is named Zeke, even a minor one, the book goes unfinished. Neurotic, I know, but there you go!

Lainey said...

The TSTL heroine and the blind-to-her-shrewish-persona hero who must repeatedly save her from the bad guys. Written by one of those NYT best-selling testosterone thriller series authors about an invincible iron man hero with top security clearances etc. using some 1980's H/H template he still adheres to.

Steve Malley said...

Rape. Rape is a deal-killer for me. I've never, never, never once seen a graphic depiction of rape treated in a way that was integral to the story and not queasy and seedy and yuck.

The fact of rape all right. The step-by -step, no thanks.

Anonymous said...

For as long as I can remember -- be them books or films or TV series -- I have a strong aversion to Love Triangles. I may continue reading or watching but it will be for other things. In some scenarios, I will just simply stop [reading or watching] -- especially when I sense that I'm beginning to lose respect for the characters -- and move on.


Charles Gramlich said...

child abuse, if it is at all graphically described. That's probably my main hot button item.

cs harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cs harris said...

M.A. Lucier, thank you! Nice to know I'm not alone.

Lainey, ah, yes, the TSTL heroine kills me every time, too.

Steve, definitely a place for the writer to fade to black. Otherwise it becomes violence porn.

Zinnuraain, that's a common source of conflict, all right--maybe even more common than the hero being cheated out of his money. It needs to be handled very well for me not to lose respect for the character, too.

Charles, I'm with you on this one, too. It's right up there with the graphic rape of a woman.

11:16 AM

Sarah said...

Adultery or even promiscuity just makes me put a book down. I love romance books, but if the hero has a mistress that I know isn’t my heroine, I put the book down. I’m not a prude, but if I’m reading a love story I do not want the hero to be with someone else ten pages before he falls undyingly in love with someone else. It just seems very unromantic and unconvincing to me.

Sisker said...

Characters who are "too much" for their age. Let's face it, no one in their late 20s is a world-famous plastic surgeon (for example) or a tenured professor, head of their dept, etc. Just as real people need experience, so do characters.

Anonymous said...

Animal cruelty. I don't want to think about it so why would I read about it. The instant I can see a book or movie is going there, it looses me. I don't even want it illuded to.

cs harris said...

Sarah, I'm with you. I recently read a book in which the heroine kissed--and responded to--three different guys during the (brief) course of the book and all I could think was, eewww.

Sisker, Yes, yes! I didn't realize I had so many hot buttons.

Anonymous at 3:45, this is probably my biggest one. I HATED Black Beauty as a kid.

orannia said...

LOL Lainey! And I'm with you Sisker! I would add to that the perfect heroine - perfect everything and she's a world famous concert pianist who can also disarm a nuclear bomb. I usually stop reading a book with a perfect heroine, because I end up wondering why I bother.

And I can't read about or watch (on the news for example) animal cruelty. It's gets me incredibly upset. I watched a news bulletin on live sheep exports last month and was screaming at the TV with tears pouring down my cheeks before I knew what was going on.

cs harris said...

Oranni, too-perfect heroines bore me, too; I mean, if you're perfect, what do you have to learn, right? And I've always felt a story should be a learning experience for the characters.

And don't get me started on sheep. It was my international consulting company's involvement in live sheep exports and the construction of an abattoir in the Persian Gulf that turned my girls and I into vegetarians!

Barbara Martin said...

I'm not keen on reading situations about same sex partners. Ditto on Steve's comment.

The cruelty depictions in Black Beauty were tame considered to some of the other stuff that goes on currently in the equestrian world.

cs harris said...

Barbara, I'm with you; I have no problem with people's lifestyle choices; I wish them all happiness and will fight for their right to equality, but I have to admit to being made uncomfortable by reading details or watching it.

As for what goes on in the equestrian world, I don't understand how people who enjoy horses can be cruel to them. Of course, I also think a lot of research scientists must be totally sick, depraved human beings for the things they do to animals.