This post was written specifically for the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop. All opinions expressed are the author’s own, so blame him accordingly.
A quick acknowledgement first. One of the daily Twitter writer games I’ve taken part in this year is #TheMerryWriter, hosted by Ari Meghlen and Rachel Poli; and one of their recent questions is what sparked this post.
How many times have you been reading (or watching, I don’t think it’s isolated to a single medium) something and been struck by a decision that seems totally at odds with what you’ve been led to believe about a character or even just common sense and only exists to set up the next scene or plot point? I suppose I could give examples here but chances are you’ve already thought of half a dozen for yourself.
Now, I’m not sure whether this is something that becomes more or less common between architects and gardeners (I’m sorry but for whatever reason I just detest the terms plotters & pantsers. If you’re not familiar with this version, see here). One thing that does seem consistent, from reviews & critiques I’ve found, is that it stems from having a plot goal fixed in mind; but without a specific means of accomplishing it. Or, in other words, forcing the decision so things go in the desired direction.
So how can you tell if you’re falling into this trap? Well, I think the simplest way would be to stop and think about the decision being made. Is it in line with the character as you’ve established? Does it make sense within the context of the story? Or is it simply the easiest way to get from A to B, regardless?
Let me know what you think is the best way to avoid this situation or, if you feel like venting some, some of your favourite(?) examples of what I’m talking about.
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I totally understand what you’re talking about. I can’t think of any specific examples at the moment, but I always cringe when characters do something “out of character” from the rest of the story.
As far as the different types of writers, I like the different types as given by Phyllis Crème and Mary Lea in “Writing at University” of which I learned about in an article titled “Studying Effectively” by the University of Nottingham: The Diver Writer, The Patchwork Writer, The Grand Plan Writer, and The Architect Writer.