I have no problem throwing my characters into… challenging situations (purple blood, anyone?). The problem I have is letting them make stupid decisions.
As a young (as in, new-to-this) novelist, I can see I have a hard time separating myself from my characters at times. Writing advice encourages me to get my characters into bigger and bigger trouble–preferably by hard choices backfiring and making worse what they were supposed to fix. Since that’s the exact thing that would curl my toes in real-life, I find I’m not even sure how.
I’ve been griping wondering for a while how to work past this, and really appreciated a suggestion that is much more usable for me: put the characters in a situation where they must make a decision quickly. In that context bad decisions would have less shame. And, to me at least, be more believable.
I mentioned a while back my list of favorites and antitheses when it comes to stories this was one thing on my *dislikes* list. That is, if I know better how to behave in the world than the character who lives there… well, I have decidedly less patience for events that happen (in my interpretation) just to rack up the tension.
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[The original post included a giveaway that is now closed.]