Little wonder we stumble in life.

SOCS — Just Write #2


This is it, free writing. It reminds me of an episode of NCIS when McGee was freewriting, and DiNozzo acted all, “ooh, freewriting” as though he hadn’t heard of it. Which he obviously hadn’t, but it makes you wonder.

I often think people should automatically know certain things, and when they don’t, it’s a big shock. You wonder how a person can go around not knowing something you consider so fundamental.

But not everyone sees the world the same way as you do. And that’s an important thing for a writer to remember, because if you write a character as though they know something that in truth they wouldn’t, no matter how fundamental you think that knowledge, maybe it’s a bit off-putting.

Maybe its wrong.

And I take great pride in characterisation over plot. It what defines everything, isn’t it? Characters are what make plots.

Author: littlewonder2

I'm 25, and I blog to improve my writing; I want to be good enough to be published. I also studied Japanese when I was younger. Luckily, I'll be able to continue those studies along with Creative Writing next year in University.

17 thoughts on “SOCS — Just Write #2

  1. That’s a great SOC – I like the lesson you provided.

  2. I feel the same when I think people should know things. Yes, great characters, well defined, make the whole thing work

  3. i’m not sure if i can agree about character over plot, and it might be that both are necessary. for example, i might have a character named steve “smooth” wilson. he might play guitar in a cover band that plays bars on weekends. he is very good looking and can talk a homeless man out of his coat. women love him, and he’s not hesitant to take one or two home after the show is over. during the week, however, is a different story. when he’s not onstage, he’s insecure to the point of almost paranoia. if he’s not getting “stage” attention, he can’t cope and is on medication for it. however, the medication has side effects. he hallucinates, often believing that he can read people’s minds, and often believing that those people want to hurt him or hurt others. he can’t go to the police because the can’t explain “how” he knows those people are bad, so he needs to take matters into his own hands, sometimes “eliminating” people. one day he visits his mother, and now he believes that his mother is going to hurt him, and he struggles with wanting and believing he needs to kill his own mother or possibly risk being killed by her.

    i’m not saying this is a great character, nor am i saying it’s a great plot. it might be. the point is, without a strong plot – you won’t be able to reveal a strong character. without a plot to challenge him, what good is a strong character?

    • You have a point, and of course both are important. I really like your point about how plot creates good character, and that there isn’t much point in a strong character without a plot to challenge them.

      Plot is what gets the reader to keep reading too. But the way I’ve always seen it is that plot is characterised, and character drives it all. I guess it’s just character-over-plot bias…

      But your point is pretty strong too. And by the way, that is a great plot — or at least I think so.

      But the same way that I’ve already mentioned, it is the character that has driven that plot. The flawed part of that character is the only part that seems interesting to me. It’s more engaging; which might describe your apparent preference for plot.

  4. If you prefer character over plot, as I do, you might enjoy the book The Charioteer by Mary Renault (if you’ve never read it, that is). I just finished it and it’s really good, but is much more character focused than plot-based.

  5. Wandered over from SOC Sunday …

    I think you’ve got it exactly right.

    The books / stories that have made the biggest impression on me, that have stayed with me through the years are the ones with the most ‘real’ characters. It doesn’t matter what they do; it matters that I am convinced that that is what they would do. (Ugly sentence; hope it makes sense.)

    If I don’t believe that their thoughts and actions are genuine, it ruins everything else.

  6. I am often amazed when people don’t know things that I find ordinary knowledge. But, I am sometimes shocked at the seemingly simple things that I find out that I didn’t know before.

  7. Yes! I often feel that way — HOW can this person not know this thing when I have ALWAYS known this thing? How can a person go through an entire life and not have picked up this tidbit of knowledge that I consider so essential?

    I really enjoyed your post… a very good writing lesson to remember!

  8. I think characters are important but without a map they end up wandering around in circles. πŸ™‚

    • Good point… I guess I just think that character’s reactions to certain things can help drive a plot in a certain direction you might not have considered.

      • I do agree on that. I’ve been writing and suddenly notice the character I’ve created is doing something I didn’t expect. I love it when that happens.

  9. I know what you mean about some basic common knowledge but I don’t know…I actually like that other people know different things than me, it makes our interactions more intersting.

  10. I think you hit on the basic fundamental idea that I think everyone should know that not everyone knows what you do even if it’s something really obvious that you fall down due to gravity (haha, funny moment here because I think everyone should know it :-P).

    And you’re right, those types of things do influence characters. If you’re interested in why you think people should things, but they don’t, you should research schemata. They’re basically categories that we create to organize our worlds. They might help you in defining what your characters knows and what he or she thinks is actually happening due to his or her thought process, but doesn’t actually know the truth. I hope that made sense.

  11. That is one thing we have to remember as writers. Don’t let our worries about how others take our writing to influence our content. The few writing classes I’ve taken and some of the books I’ve read, stress clarity for the reader. It’s hard for us to take ourselves out of our work, but we need to evaluate it objectively.

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