1. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    How much drama do we really need?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by bluebell80, Jan 20, 2010.

    While I'm a firm believer in the school of conflict and drama is needed in most stories, where do we draw the line and what is the line?

    Conflict and drama can come from many things, from situations, ideas, and people, but how much emotional drama and conflict do we need in a story and how much is too much?

    I often find myself feeling that I don't have characters who are flawed enough in the emotional department, that they are too in control and too aware of their emotions to have substantially charged reactions. While the characters are not unable to express emotion, as they do still express them, they aren't fueled by childish immaturity, or lack of emotional self-awareness. They are righteous reactions to valid situations.

    My wondering is is that enough to keep the average reader involved? Or is that too removed from the way the majority of people are who are the average reader? Do we really need to have the emotionally immature, self-absorbed, self-conscious types of characters to keep the reader's interest? Take Twilight for example...Granted that is YA and it tends to be geared more for the emotionally immature, but plenty of adult books are like that as well, even the non-vampire based ones.

    By not writing severely flaws characters, am I cutting back my reading audience to just a handful of people? Or is there enough of a market out there to support books with generally emotionally mature characters without all the emotional drama?
     
  2. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    Everyone has a breaking point. Perhaps you need to inject truly cruel situations for your levelheaded characters to react to. Just a thought
     
  3. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    I guess it depends on the genre you're writing and the audience you hope to connect to. What you describe as "emotionally mature" and relatively un-flawed characters sounds like fantasy (of one kind or another) to me. That alone I imagine will limit your readership to an audience that reads for reasons related to escaping or ignoring reality, no? Nothing wrong with that so long as you know what appeals to these readers and where to draw your conflict and storyline tension.

    Of course, you probably realize there's no such thing as the "average" reader. Every reader is unique in some way. I think you have to target your audience by analyzing (yourself) what sells to them and what doesn't--i.e., what is it about these stories that interests readers of books like those you hope to write? What interests you about them? If I were writing genre fiction, I'd study the market very closely--reading and trying to figure out why one's a best seller while another one just doesn't measure up.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Don't think of conflict as having to arise from flaws. It can also arise from different weights individuals assign to virtues. A dilemna is defined as a choice complicated by forcing one to choose between virtues or principles.

    I dislike the use of the term flaws as applied to characters. It biases the writer to only think in terms of weakness and defect, rather than diversity.
     
  5. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    I guess because what I have been writing would fall more into the action based plots, rather than the emotional based dramas, that my characters tend to not be as emotionally explosive, or screwed up...I guess would be the correct term.

    I guess I got to thinking about this while I was watching The Bachelor online last night. I was watching how drama filled the female interactions were, how I spotted the crazy one from the very first show, and have been right each week with who he's sent home. Analyzing their personalities from an objective, psychologist kind of way, got me thinking as to how drama I put into my stories, as far as emotional unstable based drama (not psychotic but you know, the people who we can just tell need some therapy, totally emotionally unaware people.)

    My current MC isn't flawless, as she is having issues dealing with her grief of losing her family to zombies. But, her way of dealing with it is not dealing with it at all. So she has nightmares. The man she has picked up isn't what he appears to be on the surface and has just now started to reveal some small tid bits about himself to her. However, his way of dealing with the lose of his wife(actually ex-wife, but they were getting back together) is totally different, more external than my female MC, even though the guy is combat hardened. I'm starting to feel I reversed roles, like my male is more female than my female MC is as far as their emotional reactions to the same emotion, grief.

    Now that I am thinking about it, maybe I should shut the heck up, stop worrying, and just write. lol
     
  6. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    That's probably good advice for most of us!;)
     

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