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  • Writer's pictureDaniel Fox

Hello, My Name Is [Plot Device].

~ Last weekend, I sat down with my family to watch a television show. I know, I know, this is a bit of a throwback move, as many families don't get together to watch television anymore. Movies? Sure. Television shows? Not so much. To be fair, this is a very unconventional show, and I hasten to name it here (because this is not really a flattering piece), but it is one of our few entertainment staples. We've been waiting for this one to come back on, and as it started, a hushed excitement fell over the living room.

Twenty minutes later, one of us wouldn't stop yelling at the TV.

Okay, it was me, and that leads me to my point. Don't get me wrong, I love this show, and although not all stories need to be super deep and meaningful, they do need a good plot, and one that makes sense (within the confines of the environment/universe they are built around).One of my least favorite things in a story is when a character that's been fully developed (in this case, over the course of many years) does something completely outside of their normal behavior. Sure, there are exceptions to this. Like, when the character is going crazy, or having some kind of mental meltdown. But aside from that, these instances are often something else altogether. This is frequently the result of the writer(s) using the character to drive the plot in a specific direction, and usually for a payoff later down the line. For me, no matter how good the payoff may be, this is hard to watch/read. It's typically confusing to the audience because they know the character would not do what they are doing. In my book (literally), characters need to have a personal reason for their actions, even if these reasons aren't revealed right away. Having a character do something completely outside of who they've been built up to be, just to move things in a specific direction, is a bad move. It usually makes the story weaker, and an engrossed watcher/reader will pick up on it.

Okay, rant over. Carry on.

Until next time, Happy Reading!

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