Monday, June 18, 2012

Waffles are for Breakfast, Not for Creativity

Don't Waffle. Make a Decision and Fix It Later if You Need to.

by Doc Harvard Social Media Doctor
Founder of 42wd Publishing

Making decisions is hard but that's no excuse to waffle. To many people are to worried about offending someone or making the wrong decision or they don't want to take sides. Guess what, as a creative you need to be opinionated and you need to take sides, at least your characters do.

In the real world it's bad enough when a person can't own a decision and make a choice one way or the other, or even come up with a completely different choice, and follow through. It's even worse in the creative world, no one wants to read a story where the good and bad guys are overly busy worrying about stepping on someone's toes, being politically correct and always taking the middle ground.

Your hero may be making the worst choices possible for a given decision but your reader wants to read about those choices and what results from them. They don't want to read about beige, which is what you get if your characters don't draw the literal and metaphorical line in the sand. Your hero could be a womanizing, drunkard with a gambling addiction who stumbles her [ yes I meant to say her ] way through saving the world as we know it and people will read it. Why? Because they want to read about how she woke up drunk in a ditch after a frolic with what she thought was a hot chick and manages to stop the bank robbery taking place because she is bugging the get away driver for a lift and ends up vomiting in his lap distracting him long enough for the police to show up.

Here's some tips to start you off nice and easy in choice making:

Making Choices

  1. Forget the big decisions. Break them down into smaller ones. Every major decision is made up of a bunch of smaller decisions.
  2. Don't make your characters' choices for them. If you've built your characters as real people and not just bits of words they'll have their own say in the matter.
  3. Don't play it safe. Safe is boring.
  4. Don't worry about offending people. In fact, might be good to be a touch offensive depending on your general goals for the character.
  5. Have your characters stick to their decisions and worry about fixing them later. Fixing bad choices is the stuff of great stories, or revisions if your characters decide their way into a corner.
  6. Decide what your character believes in and make choices based on that.
  7. It's ok for your character to not make the choices you would. They aren't you.
I mentioned building your characters as real people in the list above. If you haven't done this then you are going to run into challenges when it comes time for your characters to make their choices.

Remember, you don't watch TV that isn't interesting and loaded with good and bad choices and people aren't going to read you if your work isn't full of good and bad choices. Conflict doesn't arise out of the absence of choice. It happens because someone made a choice.

42wd Publishing is a community sourced publishing / ePublishing company that puts creators in direct contact with their consumers. Its goal is to provide opportunities to writers, authors, poets, artist, comic artist and creatives in general that otherwise would not be available to them. 42wd Publishing does this through creative mentoring, collaborative partnerships, marketing and software designed to facilitate the creative, marketing and sales processes. [ Us + You + Creativity = Success ]

Doc Harvard is the founder of 42wd Publishing and a social media doctor. He uses his skills at doctoring up social media to help writers, authors, poets, artist, comic artist and creatives in general to grow their presence and facilitate the creative, marketing and sales of their work. When Doc Harvard isn't working on his own creative works you'll find him down in the trenches with other creatives working to improve opportunities and changing the way the publishing business works.

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