Thursday, January 23, 2014

Character Excuses

Available HERE
By Stephanie Beck
Ever read a story and have a character fall back on an excuse so vague and off putting you scowled at them? I have. M husband laughed at me when I was sitting in bed, harping at a character who just dropped ‘Well, I’m only human’ as an excuse for not following through on a promise.

It’s bogus! I hate that phrase—my friends have heard this rant and I have gotten the eye rolls, for sure, so I know not everyone agrees with me. In my experience, unless you are faced with a task beyond the ability of the human body, and beyond what a human mind can maneuver, you need a better excuse. Otherwise, the real reason was either a lack of time, a lack of planning, miscommunication—very individual, fixable, nameable things. When using ‘I’m only human’, by golly the problem should be fixable in circumstances when another animal or a machine could have accomplished it. Someone asking you to be a golden retriever....well, I think I would be okay with a pass on that one.

In my world, I see humans doing amazing things—so I have this real love for humans (that gets difficult at times, for sure), so I don’t like using my human nature as an excuse for anything. Real humans have flaws and struggles, certainly, but those same humans shine. I like characters that do the same. Mistakes are made (I’m more okay with ‘nobody is perfect’ as a general reminder—but not used as a cop out) and it is totally on the person or character how to go forward. So many great stories have come from choices people and characters make.

And so many trigger points are hit with a single, usually bad, excuse. For drama sake, things like ‘I’m only human’ certainly need to be in play, but good grief, if you hear me say it, please hit me with the ‘buck up’ shovel.
Do any phrases land on your radar? Do you use them? Love them? Hate them?

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