Michelle has a "rant" over on her blog about things that bother her, and I responded in a comment about school related peeves that I have. Some of Michelle's peeves seems pretty unusual to me and that got me thinking about personality and character. In my experience, people's likes and dislikes are so idiosyncratic as to defy understanding. For example, I hate the musical group The Police and every song they, or Sting, have ever written. I dislike their music so much that I turn the radio off or switch stations the instant a Police song comes on. There have been several times when others were in the car with me when I punched the channel change button in the first few seconds of a song and only then found out from my passenger that it was a Police song. I didn't even know it was them and I still hated it. Yet, there are strange people out there who actually like the Police.
Maybe the point of all this is that characters, real or fictional, are as defined by what they dislike as by what they like. And I realize I have never given this as much thought in my fiction as I should have. My characters need peeves. They need something to rant about, and--importantly--it is the more unusual peeves that will tell me the most about them as characters.
Now the question becomes, can I give my characters peeves that I don't share? What if my character doesn't like Z. Z. Top, or *gasp* Black Sabbath? Will I lose all respect for them? How will I ever even speak with them again? How will I be able to resist having them slaughtered quickly by some newly introduced serial killer as punishment for their foolishness?
I guess we'll see.