>Mistake Number 8

> Don’t Write About Wimps. I learned this one the hard way. My whole novel was about this passive guy–he even had a passive name, Peter, because he was intentionally passive–but it turned out that passive wasn’t interesting to anyone but me. He has a new name now, and he’s far less of a wimp, but whether he is active enough remains to be seen. (You’ll have to read the book.) But Bickham is absolutely right about this.

“So, in most effective fiction, accidents don’t determine the outcome. And your story people don’t sit around passively. (Now and then you’ll find a story in which what I’ve just said is disproven; but I’m talking about most successful fiction. Most readers don’t want their stories to tell them life is random. They want to hear just the opposite. They want to believe something. What they want to believe is that trying hard can pay off, and that people are in charge of their own fate.) That’s why wimps–spineless drifters who won’t or can’t rouse themselves to try–usually make terrible fiction characters.”

Clear enough, and true.

#8 Don’t Write About Wimps

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