Friday, June 25, 2010

Storylines and How the Lord of the Rings Should have Ended?

I came across this video a while back:

While quite humorous, and while ignoring a few important plot lines in JRR Tolkien's work, it does allude to a concern that I and other writers constantly remain aware of:
The actions and decision of characters must fit their desires, goals, and the circumstances of the world around them. Not what rigidly makes sense in the context of an anticipated storyline.

Just like people do in everyday life, characters make illogical, shortsighted or just plain old bad decisions. While those decisions move the plot forward, character choices and actions must fit what the reader has come to learn about the characters involved, and must read and feel like a good fit.

Definitely avoid: "I know it doesn't really make sense, but if the character doesn't do _______, then ______ can't happen, and the story totally falls apart."

Planning, flexibility and logic are key when confronting this potential issue. Otherwise an author risks readers scratching their heads, becoming frustrated or annoyed, and possibly setting the novel aside--never to be picked up again.


  1. I totally agree. The characters have to stick to character traits, but if they don't the writer must show why.

  2. Love the video! My son just told me about that one the other day, so I'm glad I got to see it. It made me smile. You're right about character motivations. So important.

  3. And it'd better be a pretty darn good, "why," right, Cher? :)

    Glad enjoyed the little video clip, Angie!