Characters need to prioritize coherently – by Nathan Bransford…

Put this one in the “fiction needs to make more sense than reality” file.

Your character wants something. They are actively going after it. What do they choose to do next?

In compelling fiction, your character’s choice will feel comprehensible. They prioritize relatively coherently and go after the thing they care most about. They may well be courting disaster, but we broadly understand why they’re doing what they’re doing.

In clunky fiction, characters’ choices will be out of left field. The monster may be breathing down two characters’ necks, and instead they decide to shoot the breeze with a bunch of lighthearted banter that fills in some information the author thinks is going to be important later. To the reader it makes no sense.

This is a bedrock principle for making your novel believable: characters don’t need to make the right choice, but they need to make a comprehensible choice.

Here’s what I mean.

Continue reading HERE

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