Wednesday, May 6, 2015

One Author's Pet Peeves & How She uses Them to Strengthen Her Characters

by Lynette Eason @LynetteEason

Get some good out of those irritating pet peeves!
Hi all, glad you could stop by on this fabulous first Wednesday in May. How can it be MAY? Didn’t we just take down the Christmas tree last week? Well maybe not, but it certainly feels that way.

So anyway, how may of you have pet peeves? I do. A lot of them it seems like.

Oh. What IS a pet peeve, you ask? Well, this is what Miriam’s Dictionary says: An irritating experience caused by others in which you cannot control.

So, irritating is bad enough. But one I can’t control? Yeah. That’s the part that gets me. I don’t like things I can’t control. Just ask my husband. Ha.

Some of my pet peeves:
  • Singing a completely different song than what’s playing on the radio.
  • Playing a game on your phone with the sound ON while I’m watching television.
  • Making the dog go out when I’ve just let him in.
  • Telling me you will be finished with a home improvement project in one week and three weeks later…

You get the idea.

So, what’s the point of this post?

Use pet peeves to make your
characters stronger.
I’ve figured out how to use my pet peeves to help make my characters stronger. You see, everyone has pet peeves. We all get annoyed at something. But it can be a testament to our character on how we handle that annoyance.

My husband is a creeper. No, nothing sinful. But when he’s stopped at a red light, he inches forward, impatient for the light to turn green. So he creeps forward. Again and again. Until finally, the light turns green and he floors it like it’s the signal to start the Indy 500. (Yes, I love the guy, just not his driving.)

So what’s my response?

I can be sarcastic: “Why don’t you just run the thing? We have less of a chance of being hit than being sitting ducks in the middle of the intersection.”

I can offer a motherly lecture: “Darlin’ you really need to stop at the light and be patient. Being impatient can kill you. Do you see all the other people stopped at the lights? The ones across from you? The ones next to you—or mostly behind you at this point? But they’re all stopped and they’re waiting patiently for the light to turn green. It’s safer that way, don’t you think?”

I can be snarky: “Where did you get your license? The K-Mart blue light special? The Clearance rack at Sears? Don’t you know that you’re supposed to stay behind the white line and wait for the light to change? Oh, you missed that question on the test, huh? Obviously.

I can be sweet: “Honey, I would really appreciate it if you wouldn’t creep forward like that. It makes me a bit nervous. I love you and would hate for anything to happen because you inched out into traffic.”

Or I can be the control freak: “Pull over and let me drive.”

All of these are different responses to something I find annoying. Think about your character and his or her personality traits. How do they respond to their pet peeves?

So what are some of your pet peeves and how do you respond to them? OR, if you’re a writer, what are some of your characters’ pet peeves and how do they respond to them?

Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Use your #petpeeves to enhance your #writing - @LynetteEason shares how on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Author @LynetteEason shares some #PetPeeves & How She uses Them to Strengthen her Characters (Click to Tweet)

Lynette Eason is the award-winning, bestselling author of over thirty books. Lynette writes for Revell and Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense line. Her books have finaled or won awards in contests such as The Maggies, Inspirational Readers Choice Award, The Carol, ECPA Book of the Year, The Selah, and others. Her most recent wins are the Carol Award in 2013 and the Inspirational Readers Choice Award in 2014. She began her teaching career in the public school classroom and has since moved to teaching at conferences all over the country. Lynette often speaks at women’s conference and retreats, but finds her first love is teaching writing. In her spare time she can be found hanging out with her family, loving on her nieces and nephews, traveling, and…um…writing. Lynette and her husband Jack live in South Carolina with their two teenagers. Life is never boring, that’s for sure! Lynette can often be found online at @lynetteeason on Twitter, and


  1. I love this - given me lots of ideas! Thank you.

  2. Thank you for sharing. I don't have too many. After being the only woman on an all male crew, while flying in the Navy, not much bothers me. My biggest pet peeve is making loud noises while eating or eating with mouth open. YUCK to me it is like someone taking their fingernails and running them down a chalk board. Another pet peeve, People who stop in the middle of an intersection. (wink wink)

    1. HAHA! Yep. And not having too many pet peeves is probably a GOOD thing. :)

  3. Excellent ideas not only for writing but living in relationships. Thank you!

  4. Love it, Lynette! Using pet peeves is a great way to add depth to the characters. :)

  5. Lynette,

    This is the first blog post I've read this morning; what a great way to begin the work day!

    Yes, I have my own list of personal pet peeves. Why just last night, I was ranting to my husband about one of them and....

    But let's not go there, shall we?

    I've never before considered using this kind of irritating, real-life detail to improve the quality and depth of my fictional characters, but it makes perfect sense. If the goal is to create characters that ring true with readers, why not include this level of detail?

    So thanks for the post, both for the excellent advice and for the chuckles!

    Best wishes,


    1. Lol on the rant. :). Been there, done that!! Glad you found it useful!

  6. Oh, yeah. Pet peeves, I've got my own collection of them. To name a few:

    1 - Arizona drivers who react to a light, drizzling rain as though it's a blizzard ablowin'. Creeping along at 10+ miles under the speed limit, not smart, especially on the highway. People, I realize it's wet, but it's NOT ice. Use your gas pedals. I generally watch for the first opportunity to safely get around them and pray no one else comes up behind them and doesn't realize just how slow they are going. Worst one so far - a guy going 30 in a 65. Good thing for him and me both that I was paying attention or I might not have noticed just how slow he was going until it was too late to prevent an ugly result.

    2 - Drivers who pull out in front of me onto the highway without even looking, as though they own the whole road and everyone else should accommodate them. Unfortunately, where I live, this happens with alarming regularity (especially during the winter). These are the ones I pray for - Lord, please don't let them kill anyone!

    3 - I finish cleaning up the kitchen and SOMEONE spills something on the counter and walks away and leaves it instead of cleaning up the mess they just made. grrr

    4 - Probably one of more bizarre ones, I can't stand cabinet doors left open, even partway. Closets either. They have doors. Use them. The really goofy side of this is that one of my cabinets also has little flip-style locks on the doors (so the wind doesn't blow them open). It annoys me when those locks aren't engaged, even if the doors are closed. No clue why this bugs me so much.

    Thankfully, in the grand scheme, there's not too much that gets under my skin these days. Some things that used to bother me don't anymore. A few things probably always will. *G*