Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Cheese


Truck Boy thinks that all robots walk around saying “Cheese. Cheese.  Cheese.”   As far as he knows that’s all a robot says.  That sounds pretty weird, huh.  What if I tell you that at an early age he loved a cartoon that had a large robot walking around saying "cheese" because he wanted his picture taken?  Makes more sense now, doesn’t it?  It doesn’t rationalize the belief that all robots say "cheese" but it helps us understand why our son believes that.  

Have you ever read a book where the characters actions or assumptions are so far out there you can’t understand them, let alone relate to the character?  The story falls flat and we put it away with a “meh”. If we understand what is motivating the character, what from their past causes them to believe or act like that then we get a little closer to that character.  Even if it’s not a choice we would ever make, if we understand why they made it we can accept it. 

28 comments:

  1. That's a great analogy, Sara. I've got to go see now if all my characters' motivations make sense... But I have this sudden craving for cheese...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fabulous story! And so true. To me a character can do all manner of weird things, as long as there's a good explanation for it in their personalities or pasts. It's when characters do absurd things for no reason that I get seriously irked.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly, it just has to make sense from the character's POV.

      Delete
  3. Good analogy! One time I had a CP indicate that my main character didn't have a motivation for doing what he was doing. Oops. Some serious fixing needed for that story upfront. CPs are wonderful. They see the holes we can't because we're peering so closely at our own story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My beta readers questioned some of my character's motivations too. They had motivation I just wasn't getting it across. I, too, am so grateful for CPs that help see what I can't see anymore.

      Delete
  4. Cheese! Maybe the robot just liked cheese! LOL! I want some too, now. The characters do have minds of their own, but there has to be a core of their souls that holds it all together.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Even if it’s not a choice we would ever make, if we understand why they made it we can accept it."

    Love it. A perfect post. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think the biggest compliment I've gotten as a writer is - I hated the choices she was making, but I totally understood why she was making them.

    That for me is huge.

    And yeah. It's all about backstory and internal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is huge. That means you were getting your character across!

      Delete
  7. This is so important in fiction and also in real life. Great post, now for some cheese.......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's also true in real life. Sometimes we need to remember that the people we're interacting with (having trouble with) have reasons for behaving the way they are.

      Delete
  8. This is so true! Cheese. Cheese. Cheese. So cute.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When we play robot we march around the house saying "cheese". Not a difficult game, but they love it.

      Delete
  9. But all robots do say cheese! Mmm. I say cheese a lot too. I've been thinking a lot about motivation lately. I'm reading a book right now that, like you say, is exasperating because of the motivation issue. I worry about it in my own work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we should all say cheese all day. I worry about making sure my character's motivation is clear too.

      Delete
  10. Now I want some cheese! I can think of a book off the top of my head where I could see why the character was doing what she was doing, but I couldn't understand why she made THAT choice when she had other options. I understood her motivation but didn't see why she had to go about achieving it in the way she did. Very frustrating! Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is frustrating when what the character does just doesn't make sense. Sometimes you can tell the author is manipulating them to make them fit a plot.

      Delete
  11. Yes, I agree. I wish I had something more eloquent to say, but I don't. You said it, girl!

    ReplyDelete
  12. YES! It's amazing what we will accept or believe as real when we have some background knowledge and understanding! So true! Great example!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. It's also a good reason in real life we need to dig around and find all the info before making important decisions.

      Delete
  13. Don't all robots say cheese? ;)

    But yes, you are so right. Character motivation is soo important.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks for the cute example - a great reminder of the importance of character development. Have a wonderful weekend, Sara.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope you have a great weekend too, Victoria!

      Delete