Think about a book you picked up lately. Did the characters go ahead with a plan that ended up with them in captivity, or leave someone behind who wound up being killed? Did they give into curiosity and find themselves in a bubbling pot of trouble?
Sure, these decisions might not have appeared bad at first, but their consequences were.
Bad choices are horrible in real life, but one gave me an entertaining, if painful, story. So for proof of the truth of the statement, here it is:
While at school during a P.E. class, my grade was playing dodgeball on the outside covered basketball court. Ancients trees perched on either side of the court, and grew heavy, round brown fruits from their leafy limbs. I got hit after dodging several balls, and jogged to the other team's jail. The jails were behind the court lines at either end. Here a couple tree branches snuck underneath the metal roof.
I chatted with a few people while we waited for our team-mates to free us. Then I walked a few feet to talk to someone else about strategy (because that's the kind of person I am: talking about how to win while in jail. Dodgeball is a serious kind of game).
Over us branches spread green fingers.
Something struck me on the head.
My first thought was that it was a dodgeball, until the blinding pain made the world blur. Clutching my head, I looked around to see what in the world could have hit me that hard.
A round brown fruit lay on the ground.
I almost lost consciousness because of a fruit. A fruit. It weighed at least five kilos, no joking. It certainly wasn't funny at the time, but it is now. If I hadn't had an urge to talk strategy, I wouldn't have to put ice on my head for the rest of P.E. class. (And be in extreme pain) But hey, I've got a good story, right?
|Ice cubes, my friend after fruit attacks|
Characters making bad choices is what gives us conflict. Conflict = stories. It's only natural that people will make bad choices and end up in sticky situations they'll have to fight out of (or go get an ice pack). But what about good choices?
I want characters to choose sacrifice over selfishness at the end of the book. I want them to choose who to love wisely. There should be a balance of both kinds of choices, so characters can learn and grow.
Bad choices make good stories, but with good choices they make great ones.
Do you think stories should be a balance of both choices, or just one? Ever been hit in the head by a really heavy fruit? (I hope not. It was traumatic) Let me know in the comments, and remember you are all amazing! <3