25 Reasons I Hate Your Main Character

It’s possible I hate your main character.

Now, that might be on me. The list below? Entirely personal. And, as always, in the hands of a master, none of this shit applies. A masterful storyteller can break all the rules and make the breaking of the rules seem like that should’ve been the rule all along. Your Mileage May Vary, but just the same I thought it an interesting exercise to list those things that make me want to punt your main character into a pterodactyl nest. Where he will be promptly ripped into ribbons and gobbets of man-meat.

1. No Agency: Reactive Over Active

The protagonist helps to shape the story through her actions. It’s just how she rolls. Only problem is when the reverse ends up being true: the story forever pushes the character. It’s like in a boxing match — some boxing matches are dreadfully one-sided, with one poor sod taking a limitless pummeling, his head looking like a Ziploc baggy full of ground bison. That’s not a good mode for your story. Your protagonist should not be constantly on the ropes. Sure, the inciting incident might demand reaction (“My daughter was kidnapped by angry polecats! To action!”), but the character must have or claim agency for herself. I despise characters who never grab the reins of the story, not even by the tale’s end.

2. Even Worse: Passive Over Active

Passive is worse than reactive. They’re not just ducking and guarding and feinting — these characters lay down on the ground and let the story defecate on their chest while the audience watches. The character is not a leaf in the stream that is your story. The character is not just a piece of fucking furniture.

3. Zero Redemptive Qualities

I don’t demand a “likable” character. I think likability is overstated. As I say, we need to be willing to live with the character for two hours or 300 pages, not be his best buddy. Just the same, I can’t abide a character who has zero likable or redemptive qualities. He can be selfish and shallow and doomed to his own tragic flaws as long as I have something to grab hold of to pull me out of the swampy mire of those most wretched character traits. “Oh, he’s a dick, but he loves kittens! He kills people for a living but he saves orphans!” Something. Anything. Please.

4. Punches Kids, Kick Pets, And Other Vile Acts

You can give a character as many redemptive qualities as he likes, but for me there is a line where a character crosses over and performs truly execrable acts that cannot be forgiven. I think of this as the Anakin Skywalker problem — I’m supposed to believe that Darth Vader is deserving of redemption by his hillbilly moppet of a son. “There’s still good in him.” Except then Lucas made the prequels and has Anakin murdering Jedi children, Force-choking his wife in a case of domestic abuse and, I dunno, probably setting up a brutal dog fighting ring on Tatooine. I can’t get past that. Ruins the whole thing for me.

5. The Ben Stiller Effect

I don’t want to feel a sense of unending embarrassment for your main character. Watching him, I shouldn’t be constantly wincing, crossing my legs, furrowing my brow. Do not let conflict be driven by the character’s ceaseless stupidity. Endless humiliating self-driven failure ceases to be interesting.

6. The Forrest Gump Problem

Reverse problem: your character’s success is driven by his stupidity. Every time Forrest Gump steps in pile of horse-shit it’s another unqualified success, somehow — “Oh, ha ha ha, Forrest Gump accidentally threw a Frisbee and broke the president’s nose and now we won Viet Nam and chocolate cake for everybody!” I can’t get behind a character whose rampant dipshittery is a cause for celebration.

7. Muddy Motivation

I need to know what your character wants and why he wants it. That is the bare minimum psychic investment I must possess for your character — motivation is the engine behind a character’s actions, and if I have no idea why the character does what he does, then I’m floundering about on the beach of your fiction like a dying porpoise. You can obfuscate a lot about your main character. But not that.

8. “I’m So Good I’m Perfect!”

“I’m a noble fireman and an astronaut and I can do no wrong and I’m made of adorable river otters and I help create the dreams of young girls with ponies in their hearts.” I hate your Goody Two-Shoes Never-Does-Nothing-Wrong character. Hate ‘em. You’ve turned that character’s goodness into a shining dagger which you then plunged into my breast (tee hee, breast). Conflict dies in the hands of a perfect protagonist. We love characters for their imperfections. So allow them to be imperfect.

9. Though Maybe Cool It On The Imperfections

You can, of course, go too far with the imperfections, flaws and frailties though, can’t you? “He’s a heroin addict! And a compulsive liar! And gets off on autoerotic asphyxiation. He’s got one leg. And gambling debts! His kids hate him his wife left him he lost his job and his house and he’s allergic to bees and…” You hit a point where it’s equal parts pathetic and downright unbelievable. Hang your hat on a core set of weaknesses. Don’t hamstring the character with an egregious and endless menu of foibles.

10. Her Quirky Quirks Are So Heck-Darn Quirky!

Quirks can be cute. They can be fun. Michael Weston on Burn Notice always eats yogurt. Great. Fine. But don’t let them stand in for genuine character traits. You know the old saying: “Too many quirks poop in the soup.” I think that’s a saying? Whatever. Point is, it’s awfully easy to let a laundry list of quirks pretend to be the foundation of a good character. But quirks are hollow. Too many overwhelm with a disingenuous sense: quirks are a stand-in for authenticity. Doubly true when the quirks mount and become all too twee.

11. “Blah Blah Blah, Toshi Station!”

Whining is not an attractive quality in anybody. Including your characters.

12. Had It Too Good For Too Long

Characters can and should overcome conflict. It’s part of storytelling: characters encounter conflict and struggle to overcome said conflict. But it should never be easy. You remember that kid in school? Had lots of money, teachers loved him, always had everything handed to him on a silver plate by his robot butler? You hated that kid. You hate him in real life and you hate him in fiction. Characters should not slide through the story like a baby covered in bacon grease. Conflict shouldn’t just be speed-bumps or walls made of tissue paper. If a character has it too easy, then I find it equally too easy to quit reading your damn story.

13. The Shoddy Character Copy Machine

Oh! Look! It’s Superman! Buffy! James Bond! Bleargh. I don’t want to see a carbon copy of another character. If I want to read about that character, I’ll go read about that character.

14. “The Type”

I don’t want to read the story of any kind of “type.” I don’t want to read about an archetype or a stereotype or a… I dunno, a what’s a daguerreotype? That’s a thing, right? It’s a character who… is good with… daggers? WHAT AM I A WORDOLOGIST? (Okay, fine, before I get a fusillade of smug pedantic comments, I know what a daguerreotype is. It’s the French word for “penis.”) A “type” is just a piss-thin coat of paint to slather on a faceless mannequin to give the illusion of having a genuine character there somewhere. Create people who are real in the context of your world. Do not lean on the crutch of “type.”

15. The Everyman: Duller Than A Butt-Plug

I’m done with the Everyman. He’s just — ugh. He’s a cubicle wall. He’s a chewed up wad of cardboard. He’s a blank piece of notebook paper. Yes, yes, I get it — he’s meant to represent all of us and be the fictional representation of The Common Man but yeah, you know what? He mostly just comes across as boring. Few of us are truly as common as the phrase “Common Man” suggests, so, let’s divest ourselves of that dull-as-fucking-wallpaper notion and move on. Yes? Yes.

16. Those Angles Don’t Add Up

I don’t want a boring character, obviously, and yet I do demand some degree of internal consistency. The things she does need to add up. They need to come from a place inspired by her fears, her motivations, her past. If we know all along she’s got a lady-boner for revenge, then it’s a hard pill to swallow when she continues to perform actions against that revenge. But it falls to little things, too — she got shot in the leg but doesn’t limp, she’s from Philadelphia but doesn’t know what a cheesesteak is, she’s got black hair one minute and the next minute she’s a sentient recliner named “Dave.” You know. Little things.

17. The Inexplicable Cipher

Mystery is good. I like mystery. I like not having all the answers and feeling like I’m following a trail of your breadcrumbs and, hey, who knows, maybe there’s a pile of gold at the end or some kind of bear-shark-robot hybrid that wants my intestines to host its sharkbearbot progeny. What I don’t like is a character who’s basically just one big question mark: an unsolvable and unknowable puzzle. The character is our way through this thing. She is the lens that focuses our view of the story. If that lens is covered in bird foulings and other schmutz, then everything is muddied. Ciphers can end up as a cheap and lazy trick. Such artifice will earn you a Krav Maga crotch-kapow from yours truly.

18. Atlas Pooped

A character is more than just his philosophies. We are not the sum total of our beliefs. We have friends and family. Hopes and dreams. Secret plans and bizarre sexual peccadilloes requiring an oil drum full of egg whites and Abe Vigoda in a too-tight wetsuit. If your character fails to possess those things and is just a mouthpiece for his (or worse, your) belief systems, then I will come to your house and beat you about the head, neck and butthole with a copy of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

19. He Tells Me About Stupid Shit

The novel form is great in that it gives story and character room to breathe — but the novel form also offers authors enough rope with which to hang themselves and the whole audience. Just because a novel gives you room to talk doesn’t mean the character should sit there for page after page talking about completely inconsequential piffle. It has to relate back to the story in some way — if your character goes on for three pages about breakfast or toilet habits or animal husbandry and none of it reflects or relates to the story at hand, I am going to want to throttle that character for wasting my time. First draft is a great place to let characters off their leashes. Subsequent drafts should cage those unruly assholes.

20. Truly Fearless

Fearless characters don’t hold my interest. Oh, I like a character that seems fearless, that acts like she doesn’t have one scaredy-widdle-bone in her whole body. But just the same, real fears need to manifest — she must have things to lose, must have things she cannot abide, must have things that haunt her.

21. Not Actually The Main Character

I want the main character to be the protagonist. This doesn’t need to be true, technically, but fuck it, I like it and this list is all about me, nyah nyah boo boo. Sure, you can have a main character who is a witness to the protagonist’s journey and is an observer to the changing world and the unfolding tale, but you need to be really powerful talented to pull that off and get away with it. Let your main characters drive the story as protagonists. Don’t give us a main character who somehow remains secondary to the tale being told.

22. The Motherfucker Dies

Pet peeve time: kill off your main character and I get squirrely. Twitchy. Stabby. There’s an, erm, quite popular “vampire apocalypse” novel a few years back that did this and I had to put the book down. And stomp on it. And punch trees as I held them responsible for creating the paper on which the book was printed. You can maybe get away with this if your cast features an unholy host of “main” characters (I’m looking at you, GRRM), but it’ll still earn you the stinkeye.

23. Wait, Fellas, Come Back, Come Back!

I wanna spend time with your main character but then you run off, leaving me behind like a fat kid who just dropped his ice cream in the sand. I want to hang with great characters, I don’t want you to keep ditching me and having the action happen off-screen or off-page. Root me to the character. I want to be duct-taped to that sonofabitch. Don’t give me a kickass character and then abandon his perspective for half the story.

24. Stagnant As Swamp Water

The heroic mode allows main characters to not change but instead change the world. That’s totally viable. What burns me is when neither is true — the character doesn’t change, the world doesn’t change, nothing changes, it’s all one big status quo circle jerk. Something or someone must change.

25. There’s No There There

Worst case scenario: your character just has no substance. He has no soul. This isn’t a technical writing thing, and it isn’t even a thing you can stick with a push-pin and say, “Here, just give him dark hair, some Mommy issues, and a loyal sharkbearbot companion.” But for some reason the character fails to feel real, fails to allow the audience to transcend the page or the screen and see the character as a Real Boy rather than a Wooden Doll. It’s a sign, perhaps, that you just don’t understand the character you’ve written, that he is held at an arm’s length and you have not yet found that empathetic psychic bridge between the two of you. There’s no easy way to solve this conundrum, sadly — my only advice is to hunker down and figure out what it is you haven’t figured out about your main character.


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97 comments

  • This was great, especially #5. I will get up and walk out of movies that do nothing but embarrassment comedy. Seriously, who thought it was a great idea to get their audience to identify with a character and then vicariously embarrass the audience for an hour or two?

  • This is a very helpful list! For the writers of network sitcoms! They can pick 4 to 8 items from this list, and BOOM, instant cast of hilarious characters.

  • Re Anakin:
    I just reviewed Episode III and have to give more honor to George Lucas. The transition is smooth enough if one takes into account the cartoon series from 2003. Some relevant steps in the manipulation/transformation happen there, and taking them all together the move against the Jedi council becomes more believable.

  • Thanks for skipping the science. Your writing has soul. Just telling us what you like and don’t like. That is something I can work with.

  • “Blah Blah Blah, Toshi Station!”

    *DIES LAUGHING*

    This list is so full of win that I am printing it out and taping it to my wall next to my computer.

  • Jim Butcher DID kill off Harry, and got away with it. Harry drifted around as a ghost for awhile and I think I spotted the devices that would allow him to come back.
    I love Harry Dresden, and I would never pick up another Butcher book if he killed him for real. Ah… fictionally speaking.
    Trerric thought provoking blog, Chuck.
    Thanks.

  • Oh yeah.
    6. Why I hate Forrest Gump.
    8. Why I hate Tim Tebow, or at least the media’s obsession over him.
    12. Why my daughter calls my son “Prom King” and kinda hates him.
    19. Why making it through a Nicholas Sparks novel is nearly impossible for me.
    (I don’t want to know everything that is in the guy’s refrigerator. Yawn.)
    23. Amen to that.

    But I love when they kill main characters. I’m sadistic that way. Love me some tragedy.

  • Loved the article; all I have to say about Anikan is, if I’d wanted to watch a teenaged boy whine and moan and be a gigantic pain in the ass, I could have stayed home and watched my son – for free. And he’s way more entertaining….

    Especially loved the part that said “…I had to put the book down. And stomp on it. And punch trees as I held them responsible for creating the paper on which the book was printed.” That describes perfectly my response to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series by abvout book 4. I think he lost control of the story at the very beginning, never got it back, and died of shame, no matter what his death certificate might have said.

  • Yep, I’m good.

    No, that’s not a brag; I really am good with my tri-lead characters in my first of a series. Having sat on this plot and storyline for almost a decade, I’d BETTER know my guys as much as I know every inch of my gloriously, I’m-still-pounding-into-shape-b/c-real-girl-lift-heavy naked body. It’s posts like these why I make sure none are on this list; I’m not about to be someone’s pain in the ass when I can do that myself, thanks *smile*. Even my secondaries, tertiaries, walk-ons and dead ones aren’t categorized here. Because, Chuck, I don’t want you to single me out (you didn’t, but I got pinched for my LC noticing scenery in the middle of an action scene by a published author in a public writing workshop. The heat from my cheeks was 30 SCUs of jalepenos over this.)

    #4 — Lucas did it right with Anakin, I think, and here, I think you contradict yourself. You don’t want him killing Jedi kids, yet in #3, you don’t want “likable” characters. Sometimes, dude, villainous, evil, 2nd Lieu to Satan assholes have to happen in a character, but I’ll agree there has to be a REASON to justify this much evil. Anakin was this and Lucas did that for him. Only thing I loved about this guy was his name. But hey, not to be snarky, we’re all assholes at one point or another. Even perfect me. And my too-perfect cousin, the bitch. LOL!

    #5 — Never saw a Ben Stiller flick. Now I know why. This is also why I can’t stand The Three Stooges, too. Pointless. **ducks thrown tomatoes and rotten shrimp my way**

    #6 — “I will disagree with you on Forrest Gump though. I always thought the point was that Forrest didn’t fight with his own intellect (well, cause he couldn’t) the way characters like Jenny and Lieutenant Dan did. He couldn’t talk himself out of doing things because he never saw the obstacles- he just plowed ahead. The rest of us are just smart enough to get depressed over the wrongs done to us and the unfairness of our circumstances. But Forrest is like a puppy who just shakes everything off and wanders off until he finds something else that catches his attention. It’s not that we’re supposed to admire stupidity- but that we should realize that over-thinking everything is just as big a handicap as being unable to recognize obvious hazards. Just my two cents.”

    EXACTLY my thoughts on Forrest Gump; I ADORE this story for the same reasons you HATE it, Chuck: this poster put it in the way Groom intended Gump to be. Couldn’t’ve said it better.

    #7 — I’m taking issue with a character I’m helping a colleague shape their novel with. By this point, this LC should’ve grown some, a tad, hell, an nanoinch. Nothing. Zilch. I keep screaming in the notes, “BITCH, PLEASE, HAVE YOUR LC DEAL WITH THE GHOSTS NOW!” Crickets is the response. Agreed here, too. It’s not the floundering, however, it’s the lack of GROWING that drives my day into night over this. If the character isn’t changing emotionally from Point A to Point B, I’m gone and ready to smack the author for using a “perfectly good tree to waste that book on,” LOL! C’mon, y’all: even Charlie Sheen grew up! (sorta)

    #8 through #17 — Agreed.

    #18 — Once read a book for a review. LC had to deal with a rape victim, and her getting preggs from this crime. Got ultra-preachy about his side of the issue (keep the kid, it’d be collateral damage to abort) in the plot, and a third through, had to cut the book aside and used it for a BBQ starter (The formatting also through me with its too deep indented paragraphs, too, apart from his characters pushing an agenda.) I sided with the guy on the issue, yes, but this story wasn’t the place to put his views here. However, I disagree in this one in that Andrew Klavan does this well with his LC in THE HOMELANDER series, and I’m modeling my characters’ views after mine–and even having some taking some issues’ opposing sides. Not enough writers do this properly for it to be pulled off, but with practice, it can be done rather well. As long as if it’s not overly abused–like Rand did, her book rivaling its thickness to King’s IT. Sigh. We got it after page 400; did we need another 500 to drive that home?

    #19 — DOLORES CLAIBORNE, anyone? Even with the James Joyce stream-of-consciousness like narration and no punctuation, seriously? Read it, will never again.

    #20, #21, #23, and #24 — **Siskel & Ebert’s 2 thumbs-up, WAY up!**

    #22 — The author of OVER THE END

  • Yep, I’m good.

    No, that’s not a brag; I really am good with my tri-lead characters in my first of a series. Having sat on this plot and storyline for almost a decade, I’d BETTER know my guys as much as I know every inch of my gloriously, I’m-still-pounding-into-shape-b/c-real-girl-lift-heavy naked body. It’s posts like these why I make sure none are on this list; I’m not about to be someone’s pain in the ass when I can do that myself, thanks *smile*. Even my secondaries, tertiaries, walk-ons and dead ones aren’t categorized here. Because, Chuck, I don’t want you to single me out (you didn’t, but I got pinched for my LC noticing scenery in the middle of an action scene by a published author in a public writing workshop. The heat from my cheeks was 30 SCUs of jalepenos over this.)

    #4 — Lucas did it right with Anakin, I think, and here, I think you contradict yourself. You don’t want him killing Jedi kids, yet in #3, you don’t want “likable” characters. Sometimes, dude, villainous, evil, 2nd Lieu to Satan assholes have to happen in a character, but I’ll agree there has to be a REASON to justify this much evil. Anakin was this and Lucas did that for him. Only thing I loved about this guy was his name. But hey, not to be snarky, we’re all assholes at one point or another. Even perfect me. And my too-perfect cousin, the bitch. LOL!

    #5 — Never saw a Ben Stiller flick. Now I know why. This is also why I can’t stand The Three Stooges, too. Pointless. **ducks thrown tomatoes and rotten shrimp my way**

    #6 — “I will disagree with you on Forrest Gump though. I always thought the point was that Forrest didn’t fight with his own intellect (well, cause he couldn’t) the way characters like Jenny and Lieutenant Dan did. He couldn’t talk himself out of doing things because he never saw the obstacles- he just plowed ahead. The rest of us are just smart enough to get depressed over the wrongs done to us and the unfairness of our circumstances. But Forrest is like a puppy who just shakes everything off and wanders off until he finds something else that catches his attention. It’s not that we’re supposed to admire stupidity- but that we should realize that over-thinking everything is just as big a handicap as being unable to recognize obvious hazards. Just my two cents.”

    EXACTLY my thoughts on Forrest Gump; I ADORE this story for the same reasons you HATE it, Chuck: this poster put it in the way Groom intended Gump to be. Couldn’t’ve said it better.

    #7 — I’m taking issue with a character I’m helping a colleague shape their novel with. By this point, this LC should’ve grown some, a tad, hell, an nanoinch. Nothing. Zilch. I keep screaming in the notes, “BITCH, PLEASE, HAVE YOUR LC DEAL WITH THE GHOSTS NOW!” Crickets is the response. Agreed here, too. It’s not the floundering, however, it’s the lack of GROWING that drives my day into night over this. If the character isn’t changing emotionally from Point A to Point B, I’m gone and ready to smack the author for using a “perfectly good tree to waste that book on,” LOL! C’mon, y’all: even Charlie Sheen grew up! (sorta)

    #8 through #17 — Agreed.

    #18 — Once read a book for a review. LC had to deal with a rape victim, and her getting preggs from this crime. Got ultra-preachy about his side of the issue (keep the kid, it’d be collateral damage to abort) in the plot, and a third through, had to cut the book aside and used it for a BBQ starter (The formatting also through me with its too deep indented paragraphs, too, apart from his characters pushing an agenda.) I sided with the guy on the issue, yes, but this story wasn’t the place to put his views here. However, I disagree in this one in that Andrew Klavan does this well with his LC in THE HOMELANDER series, and I’m modeling my characters’ views after mine–and even having some taking some issues’ opposing sides. Not enough writers do this properly for it to be pulled off, but with practice, it can be done rather well. As long as if it’s not overly abused–like Rand did, her book rivaling its thickness to King’s IT. Sigh. We got it after page 400; did we need another 500 to drive that home?

    #19 — DOLORES CLAIBORNE, anyone? Even with the James Joyce stream-of-consciousness like narration and no punctuation, seriously? Read it, will never again.

    #20, #21, #23, and #24 — **Siskel & Ebert’s 2 thumbs-up, WAY up!**

    #22 — The author of OVER THE END LINE did this really, really well. The story was disturbing for a YA read (most are these days, mine included, LOL, but I’m disturbed, too (but not **that** disturbed)), and the ending ended abruptly like a good jazz or rock tune does. Again, it’s a tool writers can and should use, but not abuse. Could be you’ve seen it so abused so badly, it’s a peeve. Can’t fault you for that. But I think it works, when the story warrants it.

    #25 — Okay, so I lied; I’m not good. My MG LC I don’t yet know and the story’s all over the place (for now), but I have to figure it out. The YA series is set and in place. He’s got soul, it’s my M.O. I need to tap him into.

    Great, great post! Keep ‘em coming!

  • About #21… can the main character be the antagonist? (yes, this is a serious question) I’ve put some consideration into this, and the only one that might rile someone up against him is that one. Well, and #22.

  • Love love love this post very much! Agreed with every single point, and laughed my proverbial off while doing it.

    #2 – oh hell yeah! I once read a novel which had one main character (out of five, which was the only reason I could bear to keep reading) who was so damn WET I just wanted to slap her for… ooh, pretty much most of the novel. Which then made me feel guilty, because she also fell (literally at times) under category #1 – as well as being nauseatingly saintly-sweet and causing everybody who laid eyes on her to inexplicably fall in love with her (like #8 but minus any heroic qualities, unless ‘suffering appalling cruelty with nothing more than a sad sigh and bambi-eyes’ counts as ‘heroic.’) Having a character that makes your reader feel like Queen Bastard of the Universe for wishing violence upon her? Not a good move, I felt.

    #5 – Yes! YES! THAT’S IT!! THAT is why I hate Ben Stiller movies – I KNEW it wasn’t just some random reason! Thank you for shining a light on that for me – Now I have some ammo for those “But WHY – he’s soooo funnyyyy!!” conversations. Him and Adam Sandler (who I feel is like Irrationally Angry Ben Stiller.)

    #6 – Oh, hell to the power of yeah! Okay, I get that his lack of intelligence is the key to his fearlessness for life and what makes him confront things that others would shy away from… but that whole running thing? SERIOUSLY? Goes off for a random, epic run, makes other people curious as the deep-and-meaningful-ness of it and so they join him on Random Epic Run, soon he’s on telly and thousands more have joined him on his RER, become a nationwide phenomenom…. Whole plot sequence takes a good TWENTY MINUTES to build up to its spectacular climax, which is…

    he stops, decides he’s had enough and goes home.

    Absolutely HAS to be in at least the Top Five of “What The Effing Crap?” Movie Moments.

    Thank you for brightening my whole day once again, Chuck!

  • Name dropping! I hate it! Some authors insist on ramming sophistication down our throats and it smacks of their need to show off their own refinement? Arse! Nothing puts me off a main character when he/ she starts ordering very expensive 1987 Chateau La Pretentious and displaying exquisite skills as a food critic! Of course he or she being immaculately tailored in an Italian designed outfit and smelling delicately of custom made Eau d’Absolute Merde knows all the best restaurants and is on first name terms with the maitre d’! Please sod off!

  • April 2, 2014 at 4:55 AM // Reply

    This whole thing is just whining and you said you don’t like it or anyone else. This is not semantics. This is not constructive criticism. No reply from you is needed or justified.

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you for #15. God I cant stand The Everyman. I read to lose my self, not to read about myself. Reading about my self would make for one boring ass book.

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