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Your protagonist doesn't have to be an intellectual genius, but she does need to have common sense.  I just stopped reading a novel because the main character did something incredibly foolish, even though her women's intuition was shouting at her not to proceed.  Then she complained because of all the terrible things that occurred as a result of her bad decision.  I said, "Well, what did you think was going to happen??  Of course you're in more danger now than you were before!"  I'm sure that was the author's intention -- making things worse for the protagonist.  But having her make such a dumb decision was not the way to go about it.  (If I sound angry, I am.  I was really enjoying the book up until this point. I looked forward to reading it every day.  But once the heroine ignored common sense and stepped willingly into a bad situation, I stopped caring about what happened to her.  I felt she had asked for it.)  Just keep in mind that your reader may stop reading if you have your protagonist choose to do something that nine out of ten people would not do.  Your reader might never buy another book you have written.  And if she is really annoyed, she might just leave a bad review on a few book sites.  Believe me, readers look at book reviews.  The last thing you want is a bad one, especially if it could've been avoided.

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Not true. I can't tell you how many books I've given up on that I started out enjoying. When I was younger, I had a "finish what you start" ethic, and I'd plow on through once I started reading, wheth

Your protagonist doesn't have to be an intellectual genius, but she does need to have common sense.  I just stopped reading a novel because the main character did something incredibly foolish, even th

me reading this: *panics* THIS SOUNDS LIKE MY CHARACTER   also me: *remembers that my book is not published* oh yeah duh     but still XD book characters are stupid sometimes.

11 minutes ago, jadijohnson said:

Your protagonist doesn't have to be an intellectual genius, but she does need to have common sense.  I just stopped reading a novel because the main character did something incredibly foolish, even though her women's intuition was shouting at her not to proceed.  Then she complained because of all the terrible things that occurred as a result of her bad decision.  I said, "Well, what did you think was going to happen??  Of course you're in more danger now than you were before!"  I'm sure that was the author's intention -- making things worse for the protagonist.  But having her make such a dumb decision was not the way to go about it.  (If I sound angry, I am.  I was really enjoying the book up until this point. I looked forward to reading it every day.  But once the heroine ignored common sense and stepped willingly into a bad situation, I stopped caring about what happened to her.  I felt she had asked for it.)  Just keep in mind that your reader may stop reading if you have your protagonist choose to do something that nine out of ten people would not do.  Your reader might never buy another book you have written.  And if she is really annoyed, she might just leave a bad review on a few book sites.  Believe me, readers look at book reviews.  The last thing you want is a bad one, especially if it could've been avoided.

 

How many pages did you get through before the author blundered?

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It is difficult. As an author you may want your protagonist sometimes to fall foul or make a mistake as part of the story, but doing it credibly is the tricky bit.  

 

However,  I can understand how irritating it is when the author makes such an error as you described. If it was traditional publsihed, their editor should have picked it up.

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52 minutes ago, Wesley Southern said:

 

How many pages did you get through before the author blundered?

This might have happened around chapter ten or eleven.  Since it's an e-book, I can't flip through the pages to find out.  I did keep reading, even after the heroine made her foolish choice.  But I got tired of her complaining about how bad her life was now, and I stopped reading.

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17 minutes ago, Shamrock said:

It is difficult. As an author you may want your protagonist sometimes to fall foul or make a mistake as part of the story, but doing it credibly is the tricky bit.  

 

However,  I can understand how irritating it is when the author makes such an error as you described. If it was traditional publsihed, their editor should have picked it up.

You're right.  It's okay for your protagonist to make a mistake.  They are supposed to act like real people.  But they shouldn't willingly step into a dangerous situation that most people would run from.  That just makes them look incredibly ignorant.

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1 hour ago, jadijohnson said:

I just stopped reading a novel because the main character did something incredibly foolish, even though her women's intuition was shouting at her not to proceed.

Yep, I've read a few of these. Very frustrating!

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35 minutes ago, jadijohnson said:

This might have happened around chapter ten or eleven.  Since it's an e-book, I can't flip through the pages to find out.  I did keep reading, even after the heroine made her foolish choice.  But I got tired of her complaining about how bad her life was now, and I stopped reading.

 

You can tell a book has potential or not from the first page.

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15 minutes ago, Wesley Southern said:

 

You can tell a book has potential or not from the first page.

Well, the author sure had me fooled!  I was totally hooked on the book.  Maybe that's why I was so disappointed.  I thought the whole book was going to be great.

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19 minutes ago, HK1 said:

Yep, I've read a few of these. Very frustrating!

It is!!  Especially when you were enjoying the book up until then.  It's even more of a letdown than if the book was just mildly entertaining.

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1 minute ago, jadijohnson said:

Well, the author sure had me fooled!  I was totally hooked on the book.  Maybe that's why I was so disappointed.  I thought the whole book was going to be great.

 

Oh really? That must’ve been a killer first page

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Just now, Wesley Southern said:

 

Oh really? That must’ve been a killer first page

It was.  And every page after it.  If only the heroine had listened to her intuition and run the other way...

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2 hours ago, jadijohnson said:

 I just finished reading a novel because the main character did something incredibly foolish, even though her women's intuition was shouting at her not to proceed. 

me reading this: *panics* THIS SOUNDS LIKE MY CHARACTER

 

also me: *remembers that my book is not published* oh yeah duh

 

 

but still XD book characters are stupid sometimes. smh they can mess up REALLY bad and not bat an eyelid . . .

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56 minutes ago, ThePerilousPen said:

me reading this: *panics* THIS SOUNDS LIKE MY CHARACTER

 

also me: *remembers that my book is not published* oh yeah duh

 

 

but still XD book characters are stupid sometimes. smh they can mess up REALLY bad and not bat an eyelid . . .

Like I said, it's okay for characters to make mistakes.  You just don't want them to do what one out of ten people would do in the same situation.  You never want your reader to mutter, "What a moron."

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1 hour ago, jadijohnson said:

Like I said, it's okay for characters to make mistakes.  You just don't want them to do what one out of ten people would do in the same situation.  You never want your reader to mutter, "What a moron."

 

Aw, that’s no good. Have you read anything good lately?

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2 hours ago, Wesley Southern said:

 

Aw, that’s no good. Have you read anything good lately?

 

Yes!  I just finished "Someone Like You" by Karen Kingsbury, and I'm halfway through "Truly, Madly, Deeply."  I've even bought her latest book, "A Distant Shore."  Her novels can be on the sad side, but I became a fan after I read her series about 9-11.

 

How about you?  What books do you like to read?

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36 minutes ago, jadijohnson said:

 

Yes!  I just finished "Someone Like You" by Karen Kingsbury, and I'm halfway through "Truly, Madly, Deeply."  I've even bought her latest book, "A Distant Shore."  Her novels can be on the sad side, but I became a fan after I read her series about 9-11.

 

How about you?  What books do you like to read?

 

I read woke young adult novels about how systemically racist American society is, the most recent one being Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

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23 minutes ago, Wesley Southern said:

 

I read woke young adult novels about how systemically racist American society is, the most recent one being Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

I really like reading (and writing!) young adult novels.  I haven't read anything by Nic, though.  

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7 hours ago, jadijohnson said:

You're right.  It's okay for your protagonist to make a mistake.  They are supposed to act like real people.  But they shouldn't willingly step into a dangerous situation that most people would run from.  That just makes them look incredibly ignorant.

What if the heroine, in a surprising turn around, redeems herself and achieves a spectacular finish? What if she repented and God gave her a second chance? What if the whole purpose of the book is to prove this Word: “You are to say to them: This is what the LORD says: Do people fall and not get up again? If they turn away, do they not return?" (Jerm. 8:4)

 

Should we stop reading David's story once we see he committing adultery and committing a crime of murder? Would we turn away from the Book in disgust because we could not figure out how such a person like David makes such a foolish mistake? 

 

 

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There's a great YouTube series called "Pitch Meeting," where a movie producer and screenplay writer (played by the same person) have hilarious exchanges about major movies as though they are first being pitched. Often the producer will question the screenwriter when the main character does something completely out of character. 

 

His answer is usually: "Because the story needs to happen," which is typically followed up with "I'm going to need you to get all the way off my back about that." The producer always says "well, okay then", and the pitch continues.

 

While a funny take, I can see a writer having this same discussion in his/her head while writing such an out of character act.

 

If you're interested, here's a pitch meeting for Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory:

 

 

   

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7 hours ago, Wesley Southern said:

 

You can tell a book has potential or not from the first page.

Not true. I can't tell you how many books I've given up on that I started out enjoying. When I was younger, I had a "finish what you start" ethic, and I'd plow on through once I started reading, whether I liked the book or not. Nowadays, at my advanced age, if I'm not enjoying a book, I quit reading.

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20 minutes ago, Tommie Lyn said:

Not true. I can't tell you how many books I've given up on that I started out enjoying. When I was younger, I had a "finish what you start" ethic, and I'd plow on through once I started reading, whether I liked the book or not. Nowadays, at my advanced age, if I'm not enjoying a book, I quit reading.

I agree with you, Tommie.  If I stop caring about the main character, I don't see much point in continuing.  It won't matter to me what happens to her, especially if I feel she willingly stepped right into the mess.  Empathy is a very important emotion for the reader.  We have to care what happens to the protagonist.  There's no two ways about it.

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