My students often ask me why literary characters are so weird. They all have personality quirks, tragic flaws, weird habits, crazy situations, no one can just be. I’ve always told them simply, “nice people are boring”
Nice people are boring to be with, sure their nice, but you’re not walking away with anything. Not saying that a person can’t be nice, but if someone asks you to describe someone and the first description is “nice”, she boring; same goes for “sweet” and “heart of gold”.
I am a very nice person, I’ll do a favor for anyone, seriously, but nice is nowhere near the first word you would use to describe me. Hence, if there are no other dominating traits than nice, hire them as lackey.
In education, they tell you that bringing examples and non-examples really help clarify concepts. Like this is a shade of blue, so is this and this, but this is not. My point originally was not to discuss, niceness, but to bring literary proof and back myself up that nice people make boring stories. It took me a while to find my non-example (because writer are very into quirkisizing their characters), and here it is…Persuasion, by Jane Austen.
It feels almost sacrilege trashing Jane Austen like this, but that story was bad. Maybe not the premise, but the characterization severely detracted from it. Anne was the nicest bore to ever almost not get married. In any case, if Jane Austen can’t make nice interesting, no one can. Case Closed.