Odd ramblings of an obsessed reader

Book Related Thoughts

Beware! Paper-Doll Characters

Paper Doll Characters

Paper Doll Characters

Paper-Doll Characters

Characters as flimsy as paper

Paper-doll characters are those so shallow they don’t seem real. They are the ones given the bare minimum of soul, just a surface skim of who they are – no individual quirkiness.

These are the characters where you’re left thinking they are as thin as paper without the rich layering *thinking of chocolate cake* that makes them come alive.

Clogging up the story

Some paper-dolls do have descriptions, sometimes realms of information about their looks, what they are wearing and their day-to-day activities. But unless these are vital for the storyline it’s just useless information adding unnecessary weight and clogging up the story.

Paper doll characters are a mortal sin for books

Paper-doll characters are a mortal sin for books. A sure-fire way to fail. These are the books usually either marked DNF (did not finish) or given a low rating. They are the ones that don’t stay in the mind of the reader nor on their bookshelves.

For more bookish pet peeves see The Things I Wish Authors (and Publishers) Knew

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you!


  1. chucklesthescot

    Agreed! I hate this kind of useless character especially the brain dead airhead women who seem to have no purpose as and MC other than to annoy me!

  2. Jess@Fairday's Blog

    A great reminder for writers! I have never heard characters described this way before- but it totally works because I got it right away. 🙂 I just gave up on a book with paper doll characters.

  3. Olivia @ The Candid Cover

    I couldn’t agree more with you! I need some in-dept and relatable characters or the book is totally lost on me.

  4. Mareli Thalwitzer

    I know there are plenty of people out there who is now going to hate me – but that is EXACTLY how I feel about Wilbur Smith’s characters….. his stories are mostly great, but the characters just don’t work for me at all! They are flimsy and YES! – Like paper dolls.

  5. Michelle @ FaerieFits

    Oooh, this is so true! Nothing annoys me more than when characters don’t actually contribute much. Or play a role and are then forgotten about. And this is always a good reminder for writers too! 😀

  6. Kimberly Sabatini

    I completely agree!!!

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