CRAFT: When is a character inconsistent? Complex?

Just a quick note before I take off to do errands. TV said (and I always DO WHAT THE TEEVEE SAYS DRAT IT) to get out before noon and stay home out of the heat and pollution afterward.

On a critique-group mailing list, a critter said that the book under discussion had a major problem in that the heroine was “inconsistent.” She thought the character should be completely revamped to be believable.

Now, what was it that bothered the critter? The heroine is a vice president of sales in a large corporation. She’s tough, realistic, and practical. Frugal, not a money-waster. Wears navy blue business suits even on casual Fridays. But she has a quirk: she keeps catalogs such as Victoria’s Secret, Frilly, Rockabilly Girl, and the like at her desk, and now and then she flips through them and orders a totally frothy dress or prom dress or something else outrageous. She never wears them or goes anywhere to wear them, but she has them in one of her closets at home “just in case” she ever gets an invite to a place she can wear them. (To business banquets she wears something designer and subdued.)

I say this is not inconsistent, but a character quirk that deepens the character and makes her more real.

The crit group is dithering.

What say you?

(It’s not one of my books, or the heroine’s obsession would be something much more offbeat, such as . . . you don’t wanna know. *grin*)


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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