I have a little problem that I was hoping you could assist me with. I’ve had quite a few people read my story and the overall criticism is that one of the characters isn’t believable. They keep saying that the way the character behaves and the things she does, don’t fit in with the story. This really bothers me as this is a story that takes place in a completely made up environment that has nothing to do with reality. Like okay, you can believe an entire planet could be a live and have a consciousness, but not believe one character because of their actions and choices they make?
If only one person had said it, that would be one thing, but a few have so now I’m starting to worry. Do you think I should change the character or leave it as is? Should I take this criticism seriously?
Awesome name, by the way. I may wind up using that for one of my characters. I actually try to take most criticism seriously. The obvious exceptions are trolls who simply say that ‘this sucks’ or ‘I think you’re stupid’. Things that have no substance are basically best left ignored.
However that doesn’t seem to be the case here. I would definitely take what they say into consideration, but not let that be the be all, end all of what you do with the character. Outside criticism is vital, especially if you plan to have your work published. You want someone who’s going to rip it apart. However the final say is yours, you need to take a step back and look at the character and see if everything fits.
Now that that’s out of the way… I want to address your other comments. “Like okay, you can believe an entire planet could be a live and have a consciousness, but not believe one character because of their actions and choices they make? ”
Actually, yes. This is what’s called a suspension of disbelief. Like it or not, readers are always going to apply some level of real-world logic, even in the most fantastical of environments. We’ve all done it, and we’re all going to do it. Like it or not, this is something that all writers have to contend with.
So what’s the best way to combat this problem? Well… I’d say the first thing to do is create a set of rules early on in your writing. If there are any real world attributes, make them known through the story, cultural differences that could explain, and by default, make your character’s behaviors more believable, explore them. Most readers are really good at following a path with little guidance, but you still need to leave some bread crumbs for them to pick up on.
This is the folly of your comparison. A reader could actually take issue with a character’s choices and development in a story where an actual planet is a character because maybe you explained the planet better. Maybe the back story you put in place actually explains better how something like that can exist. I think this is an area that you may want to really go back and re-examine, but let’s open it up.
Readers, what do you think? Is this an area that Elyssa should look at a little more closely? Is the criticisms of her readers something she should worry about, or should she simply disregard them because its her story? Let me know in the comments.
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
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I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
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