Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When Your Characters Do Stupid Things...

This is an issue I see a lot. Writers, in an attempt to create a great conflict in the story or a situation for the hero and heroine to meet, end up having one of the two characters do something completely stupid. Sure, it makes the story line sound funny and unique, but the reality of the situation completely goes away.

Here are some examples:

  • A city doctor decides after a mistake in the operating room to give it all up, return to a small town and start up a business of selling antiques because his great grandfather did. He figures he will learn on the job.
  • A city business woman, who has only prepared meals by eating out at restaurants or using take-out, decides to open a sushi restaurant in Bodfish, California (yes there is a place called Bodfish and there is no insult here. I really like the place!)
  • Opening up a sex apparal and toy shop in a retirement community.
  • You get the idea...

Sure, the writer might want the person to fail and have the other person save them, but give me a break. Reality says this would never happen.

In all of these cases, you also see a situation of people with poor market research skills. Before opening any business and launching a career, you take the time to do the research to make sure the placement is the right thing. No banks will give you loans to do this (of course all of the above examples are coming from an inheritance by Crazy Aunt Myrtle), and in some cases, you would never get a business license.

I bring this up because this situation is the same for writers. You don't just send projects out to every agent and editor and hope for the best. You do your market research. I am assuming you want to succeed, right? Then do that market research. Find that editor and/or agent that is best for you. Don't just pick everyone, or the first name you find on Agent Query.

That should give you something to chew on today - both for writing your stories and for those of you in the query process.

I'll be off until Monday hanging with the writers in Kentucky. See you then!



  1. You mean my book about the debutant that decides to give up her life of designer shoes to open a wild west ranch deep in the heart of Oklahoma during tornado season is out?

    Shoot. :)

    (tee hee he... Have a great day!)

  2. Ha, love the break down. So many of your examples sound like TV shows it's scary. Why do you think these contrived stories keep saturating the market?