Character flaws

Library at Merton College, Oxford, UK

Library at Merton College, Oxford, UK. © Jorge Royan /, via Wikimedia Commons

I’ve been writing a scene for an upcoming book where one of Jamie’s fellow librarians (Justin Como) tells him that he and another librarian (Isabel Gutierrez) “walk around here [the YRL library] like you own the place.” Jamie is totally baffled by this. “I do??” Liz and Kristen assure him that yes, indeed, he does.

It got me to thinking about character flaws – specifically, Jamie’s. It’s already come up that he’s an academic snob. Graduating from Berkeley and Oxford, being a Rhodes Scholar, will do that to a guy. He’s aware of that, and tries to corral it, but isn’t always successful.

None of us see ourselves as others do, and Jamie is no exception. Since the books are written from his POV, his blind spots may not be immediately evident. But they will show themselves over time.

As Kevin pointed out in Just Right, Jamie is the baby of the family. He is the closest to his dad of the three boys, and he’s been told by his grandfather (in Low Country) that Jamie was his favorite. He was never spoiled in a material sense – there wasn’t enough money for that – but he was emotionally spoiled, and probably got his own way more often than Kevin or Jeff did.

He certainly seems to get his own way with Pete. If Pete suggests something that Jamie is totally against doing, Jamie doesn’t compromise. He points out all the reasons that he thinks Pete’s idea is terrible, until Pete gives in. Example: Pete’s exploration of whether he and Jamie might have a child (in Encountered to Death). Jamie’s initial reaction is, Oh, hell no, and he never wavers from that. Another example: Pete and Jamie are in Oakland in Talked to Death. Pete agrees to help the police with their interviews without consulting Jamie first, thereby wrecking Jamie’s plans for a romantic day and evening in San Francisco. Jamie behaves like a total shit (I have to admit, I probably would too) until Pete is groveling with apologies.

Jamie tends toward being more hot-tempered than not. He gets mad, yells and cusses, then cools off. Pete, on the other hand, dwells on perceived wrongs over time until they burst out. If Jamie is in a bad mood, he grumbles out loud. Pete holds it inside.

What other flaws do you see in Jamie that he doesn’t see in himself?



Filed under Books, Writing

7 responses to “Character flaws

  1. I’m curious, about what appear to be titles of books which I cannot trace. You refer to Just Right and Low Country in italics so I presume they are real titles, therefore not to be missed. What & where?

    • Oh, those are short stories. Just Right was published here on the blog this past Sunday (2/14), and Low Country was included with Stacked to Death in the ebook version and Stoned to Death in print.

  2. Oh this is too funny; I was re-reading “Talked to Death” last night and kept thinking how much Jamie reminded me of a little kid pouting because he didn’t get his way. After reading this, yup Jamie is flawed, but still lovable.

    As a middle child myself, I know when the baby pouts/whines/cries parents tend to be more attuned to them then the others did (well in my family they were. lol).

    At times, it seems with Jamie, it’s my way or the highway.

    I didn’t like how he told Pete not to grovel on the way from CLA, after Pete volunteered them to help. Granted Pete probably should have asked, but when Jamie got pissy (he really did) all I could think of was “YOU do it!” lol

    I would love to see what Pete thinks of Jamie’s faults, since we see Jamie’s POV of Pete’s

    LOVE this series!!! ❤

    • Pete once told Jamie that he wasn’t having to “round up,” he thought Jamie was 100%. But then he also told Jamie that he’d been coddled. That was early on… It would be fun to explore what Pete sees as Jamie’s flaws now!

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