Dumb Stories & Characters Drive Me Insane!
by Jenny Reed
Time Now For A General Writing Tip
While a particular story that I read today remind me of this particular writing problem, what I’m saying in this space is in fact a tip I give QUITE OFTEN.
Never make us ask “is that character a fricking moron?” Or anything similar.
I mean, it’s okay if you WANT your character to be a moron. But if you do, make sure your intention is blisteringly obvious. Don’t make us ask.
Make it so we KNOW this is a moron and that the absolute stupidity we’re reading is part of the story, maybe even its whole point.
Similarly, if you don’t want your character to be a moron, then don’t let the character do things that make us see them in the wrong light.
Which is not to say that an otherwise intelligent person cannot do dumb things now and then. They can, and you know that in real life, they do.
But when you write it, you want it to make sense that yes, this, or that, or even this AND that are dumb things to do but the character is not a moron in general. (This, by the way, is very hard to pull off, especially in short stories. Novels, however, give you more leeway to pull it off through context.)
If you just spring a dumb thing on your reader for no apparent reason, the reaction you WILL get is:
“Is this writer a friggin’ moron?”
And you don’t want that reaction. Really, you don’t.
Unless, of course, you are.
Thanks for reading my rant, oh-so-smart writer type folks to whom what I’ve been saying of course doesn’t apply. Have a nice day!
Jenny Reed is a freelance writer living on the East Coast. Munchman wants us to know that he loves her style!