If I’m going to live with my characters long enough to write them, I have to like something about them. This doesn’t mean they don’t start off with annoying habits. We all have these and it seems to be part of human nature. My beloved DH has a tendency to like wearing the same three shirts over and over.
Makes me crazy.
I want him to branch out and give all the other shades that look great on him a chance. He likes bright. Oranges and reds, mostly. I have an acute awareness of color and shade and he’s very amenable to staying away from the ones that make him look really bad, but he continues to veer toward the “Charlie Brown” tendency to wear the same ones over and over.
Even really bright, funny, tremendously endearing people have their quirks. Truthfully, the quirks are what make characters seem real and alive. Perfect just doesn’t exist in this world, except perhaps in our fantasies (but let’s not get into that.) Real people have idiosyncrasies and are sometimes annoying. My characters are, too. I have a much loved critique partner who is tickled to occasionally write characters that happen to set my teeth on edge–interfering mothers, for instance.
I can’t fault her on this, though, because our characters flaws help readers–and writers–identify more solidly with the heroes and heroines we write. We care more if the character leaps off the page into our heads as a full-blown individual. We hear readers talking about “book boyfriends” and this can only be a compliment to the writer because it means the reader can see this character. Not a perfect guy, I’ll bet, but an endearing one.