Active v. Passive Character Debate

I’ve been struggling to edit. I find that piece of the process is one of the hardest for me because it’s all thinking. I have to sit at my desk, my hands hovering over the keyboard, and I become zombie-like, my eyes focusing off in the distance, staring at some invisible mark, wondering…

Did I do the right thing? Is this the best course of action for my characters?

Maybe it’s not the smartest, but it should fit their personalities, their background and history. And one of the things I’ve learned just as of late…”crazy” people stories are boring.

And I’m not talking about normal crazy. I mean full on crazy – the kind where you should be in a straight jacket, your arms stuck hugging your body.

See, I’m writing this story, and with a “crazy” story, your character is constantly reacting to their surroundings, reacting to things they may see, things that aren’t there. And that gets boring…quickly.

Just like a horror story, eventually, your character has to be active, a part of the story-building process, where they make a decision and follow it through, even if it’s a stupid decision.

That’s what I noticed with Until Dawn. 

It hasn’t been my favorite video game, for many reasons, but as I sat there watching the game, I realized, these characters have to do something, even if it’s something stupid. Because if they were to do the smart thing and wait until dawn, nothing happens.

They have to make a decision – to go get the lift key, to go rescue their friend because that is an active decision, where the character is in some form of control. And we’re all human – don’t we all like to be control of something?

Even if we’re all crazy? 😛

That’s my active versus passive debate. I’m not saying passive is bad, but there should always be a balance within your story. Balance is key. 

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