Minimum, Conservative, Necessary: Overdoing Character’s Actions

doing nothing“Why did they do that?

When you find yourself wondering why a character in a book or on screen is taking certain action, sometimes the problem is nature.

Nature conserves energy, physical and mental. We don’t take actions which we don’t believe are the minimum conservative necessary action. Our wiring makes us look for the easy solution to whatever comes our way. And if it’s something we can ignore, inaction is the ultimate conservation. We do nothing. Lots of it.

Making our characters do something because it’s good for the story is weak writing. Readers will sense something’s amiss because they instinctively grasp nature’s imperative.

I’m highly unlikely to walk out to the frozen edge of the lake and look around, just so some storyteller can make me find a body and let them get on writing their mystery.

… more … “Minimum, Conservative, Necessary: Overdoing Character’s Actions”

Nice Guys Make Boring Reading

edgesGreat character advice from Steven Pressfield in the form of a question:

“How close are they to the edge?”

When a character teeters on a knife-edge, we can’t take our eyes off them.

My characters feel a bit safe. For my light mysteries, that’s okay. For the deeper Chandleresque cozy I’m working on, Jake needs to be closer to the edge.

But wait and see what “edge” he’s close to.

“Found Around the Web” Fiction Writing

Angela AckermanToday’s resource is from The Creative Penn Blog by Joanna Penn. She recently posted an article by Angela Ackerman.

Angela discusses creating character personality traits to make your story richer. Her resource books help writers create layered, compelling characters that readers relate to and care for. Read more at The Creative Penn Blog.