Did your characters do something stupid?

#1
So I'm sitting here drafting some chapters and was about to have my character enact a plan that would involve the usage of fire. And then I realized what they were about to do would prooobably pose a very large risk of starting a giant wildfire and causing massive damage to the environment and they're not that stupid so let's not go with that.

So it got me thinking, has anyone else's characters done or almost done something that you realized was immensely stupid? Either in drafts or a finished product, either an intentional plot point or you just realized "oh wait this is a terrible idea, whoops." Does anyone wanna share stories of characters just failing at common sense?

Re: Did your characters do something stupid?

#3

ANCT Wrote: Counting on why they are doing it, doing something stupid isn't necessarily the wrong move. If that's something the character would do and makes sense to the story, I likely would just roll with it. See where the story goes. Then again, I am little bit of a chaos writer.
By all means, sometimes a character doing something stupid is the needed move for the plot. Ecological damage isn't the right move in my case, but it could work elsewhere.


And then sometimes it's just really funny.

Re: Did your characters do something stupid?

#5
DrakanFascinating  ...uhm...so....this should be vague enough.

Let's just say that...the villains almost nuked their own plans....completely.

I can't say where because spoilers. There is/was many places this exact issue nearly ruined everything. I was aware of it as writing, but none of the characters even know still.

So, what would that change? Nothing...till much later....and it'd have turned into this massive "Wait, we did all this and it was for nothing" all around. As funny as that thought is, I feel like the readers would have a moment of "Wait...what" and get mad.

Re: Did your characters do something stupid?

#8
I let my characters do stupid things all the time, as long as it's in character. For instance, my MC believes firmly in an eye for an eye. Someone does something to him (or the people he cares about), and he's going to do whatever it takes to get back at them. Somewhat spoilerish (that isn't going to happen for another 50ish chapters from what I have posted so far): A big bad kills someone he cares about, so he gets revenge by destroying a large section of a city, killing thousands--maybe even tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands, I haven't worked out the exact details yet--of people, then proceeds on a path of vengeance through the destruction to find the civilization's leader. Plot twist that isn't even revealed in what I have written so far: it wasn't even who he thought it was that did it, making it a moot point. Completely stupid and needlessly destructive, but absolutely in character. He also is ready to storm into a highly defended building with absolutely no plan (and possibly get killed) before another character has to talk him out of him and, basically, tell him to stop being stupid.

So, I guess that's my longwinded way of saying that I'm fine with stupid, as long as it's something the character would do.

Re: Did your characters do something stupid?

#9
All.  The.  Time.

Everything from "lets go wandering off instead of waiting to be rescued!  That's a great idea!" to "Instead of getting out of the tunnel, I'll just talk smack to the train!" to "I have no idea why that didn't work.  I only let the one guy that could betray my plans know what I was about to do ahead of time!" to "It's not insane to keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results every time if it's magic!"  

They've tortured harmless little old dudes with powerful friends, lied to their wives, evaded their taxes, and cheated the waitress out of her tip.  The good guys (or good-ish) miss cues, misinterpret olive branches, snap at their friends, and start a p*ssing match in the middle of a murthering great big battle.  

*sigh*  I love these guys.  Need to finish some of these stories soon.

Re: Did your characters do something stupid?

#12
Mai Wrote: So it got me thinking, has anyone else's characters done or almost done something that you realized was immensely stupid? Either in drafts or a finished product, either an intentional plot point or you just realized "oh wait this is a terrible idea, whoops." Does anyone wanna share stories of characters just failing at common sense?

Ali is definitely in that school of "running & dodging from crisis to crisis and hoping her ass comes along for the ride" (paraphrasing a quote that I believe to be Garrus from Mass Effect), so she has definitely done something stupid because she had no other options left.

Spoiler :
Such as deliberately triggering an auto destruct to be able to get their comms working then taking said ship on a ramming mission in the hope that the guy she was attacking wanted her alive.
Among other things.

Re: Did your characters do something stupid?

#13
Many times! Here's a Best Hits Selection of Foolish Things I've Written Characters Doing:
  • Nearly set self on fire to show off (Twice!)
  • Believe that ovaries will explode if taken past Mars based on no scientific evidence whatsoever (this isn't a single character btw, it's a organization of literal rocket scientists)
  • Pretend to not need reading glasses
  • Limbo-ing under face-melting steam
  • Just learned how to use a wrench -> attempts to fix a machine that nearly killed someone
  • Run on a wet floor to prevent slipping 
  • Pick up a hot potato barehanded
  • Proceed to throw around the hot potato with friends, also barehanded
  • Track down thieves by letting one guy run around at random
  • Play pin the tail on the donkey to pick who should go on a historical space voyage
  • Let same space voyage be led by a socially inept 19-year-old and his little brother
  • Run directly off of a cliff
  • ...and more!

Re: Did your characters do something stupid?

#16

Crusixblade Wrote: Let's just say that...the villains almost nuked their own plans....completely.

I can't say where because spoilers. There is/was many places this exact issue nearly ruined everything. I was aware of it as writing, but none of the characters even know still.

So, what would that change? Nothing...till much later....and it'd have turned into this massive "Wait, we did all this and it was for nothing" all around. As funny as that thought is, I feel like the readers would have a moment of "Wait...what" and get mad.
peolaughing This is perfect. I absolutely agree, as a reader I've probably be bothered but, from the perspective of an author, I get this mood exactly.


Edge Wrote: Ah yeah, Book 1, Chapter 11. Random food stand in the middle of a horror of a forest. Dude goes and orders food like he is at a McDonalds. The main simply let him learned the hard way, and when he figured it out. He burst out of the place, hiding behind the lead, learning his lesson.

There are more, this is just one scene.
Sometimes, there is nothing to be done but let them learn the hard way.



bulgariansumo Wrote:
  • Believe that ovaries will explode if taken past Mars based on no scientific evidence whatsoever (this isn't a single character btw, it's a organization of literal rocket scientists)


  • All of these sound great but this one is on a special level for me, excellent.

    Re: Did your characters do something stupid?

    #19
    There's a world of difference between characters doing something stupid, and characters written stupidly. And it's shocking how some people can't tell the difference.

    For example, I have a lead who is a very bright woman, she would light that fire and pour petrol on if it served her needs in that moment, because she is a flawed, damaged, person. Which would then lead to consequences and growth 

    Shit, now I want to write a wildfire scene