1. Brandon P.
    Offline

    Brandon P. Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    110
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    California

    A common formula in my stories

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Brandon P., Dec 18, 2011.

    While musing over trends in my writing, I notice that a lot of my stories and plot concepts share a common theme. I have protagonists who make mistakes that either get them into trouble or cause them a lot of angst and guilt, and the remainder of the story is about them fixing those mistakes and making everything turn out all right in the end. I like this trope because it's a way to establish that my protagonists are flawed while keeping them sympathetic, but I fear that if I overuse it people will consider my work formulaic. Is it possible to tell stories in which protagonists are flawed yet likeable without having to subject them to this "make a mistake and learn from it" process?
     
  2. Tesoro
    Offline

    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2011
    Messages:
    2,825
    Likes Received:
    290
    Location:
    A place with no future
    Put it this way: Who would like to read a book where
    a. the protagonist is "perfect" (not that that exist, but some writers seem to believe that it is perfectly believeable) =without flaws?
    b. doesn't grow or change in any way during the book? Or at least learn something, realize someting etc.
    I'd say both those things are pretty necessary to make a good book. the important thing is to be a little subtle, so that it doesn't look like a lecture.
     
  3. iabanon
    Offline

    iabanon Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    0
    EVERYONE HAS FLAWS. so you're safe. you HAVE to write about characters with flaws and overcoming them. they don't have to be HUGE flaws, but not one human walks this Earth without them.
     
  4. Brandon P.
    Offline

    Brandon P. Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Messages:
    110
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    California
    Good point. Unfortunately the subtlety part is challenging for me.
     
  5. TurtleWriter
    Offline

    TurtleWriter Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Sacramento Valley, CA
    I think characteristic "ticks" are what make good writers stand out. You come to expect a certain feel, if nothing else, from good authors. Even more so if you are producing a series of novels. So even if you have a set formula for writing, as long as you're writing it well enough, normal readers won't be able to tell. People are writers themselves may pick up the nuances, but fortunately for you, the writers aren't the masses.
     
  6. AmyHolt
    Offline

    AmyHolt Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2011
    Messages:
    475
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Warsaw, IN
    There are several successful series writers that have a distinct formula to their writing. I think it eventually turns off some readers but they wouldn't be successful series if it following a formula was terrible.

    If I noticed a huge theme running through my works I would try to do something different just for the sake of wanting to expand my horizons.
     

Share This Page