Log in

bear by san

February 2017



Powered by LiveJournal.com
criminal minds garcia plan b

they live upon their feet and they die upon their knees

I am so very stuck on how this character outsmarts a nemesis. I'd go write the other story, but I'm stuck on how those characters outsmart their nemesis.

Basically, I have made the critical error of trying to write stories about people being smart, which means I have to be smart.


Smart is hard.


I keep swearing that next book is all about really dumb people.

But dumb people bore me, so I fall asleep halfway through the first chapter. Curses.
I keep claiming I'm done with caper plots.
Maybe they are clever instead of smart? Smart is such a fuzzy concept (and I've given IQ tests and can carry on a reasoned conversation of Cattel-Horn-Carroll model of intelligence, and crystallized vs fluid intelligence, and all the other little sub-intelligences). All of which, is really to say, feeling stuck sucks, AND I'm confident you'll figure it out.
It may be hard, but we all appreciate your effort. Smart is awesome!
The exact same problem many role-players run into when they try to run a character that's smarter/more experienced/more educated than they are.

After all, it's fairly difficult to do a several century old, near Genius Elven Mage proper justice when you are in reality an only somewhat literate, teenager, with at best a slightly above average IQ.

This is not to slam said teenager, it's just a basic reality. And I have seen it (mostly) pulled off successfully...not often, mind you, but I have seen it.
There is no problem that can't be solved by a suitable application of high explosives. And I'm not just saying that because I want to see the heroes emerging victoriously from the smoking ruin of the bad guys fortress of ebil.

Ok, maybe that is why I'm saying that, but still.
Smart is hard.

Is true - but I do so love it when a story makes me think "This character is smarter than I am."

As against the ones that make me think "This author wants me to be dumb, so that I'll think they're smart."
Or the ones that make me go "I saw what you're going to did there" on Page 3, and then did it just like that.
Yup. I really don't like being ahead of the game, even where that's clearly the author's intention - screaming "Wake up, will you?" at deliberately-obtuse characters is not my notion of what a story's for - and there is no inherent satisfaction in being proved right. Being proved wrong can be rewarding (tho' I don't much like the deliberate twist ending either), but even then, even when I'm all "Oh, of course - you set that up from the beginning, it was right there and I didn't see it, are you smart or am I just stupid?" - I still don't think that the function of fiction is to be a guessing-game. Even with mysteries and thrillers, I still want a book to be a journey, that author and reader undertake together, hand in hand...
I like me a good twist ending, and I love caper plots.

What I hate is when the author obviously thinks she's being clever, and I can tell from the first bit of foreshadowing where this is going, and not in a good ooo train wreck kind of way.
Or as against the ones where the author keeps telling me the character is smart and showing me the character really isn't so much (without meaning to).

Edited at 2013-05-14 12:11 am (UTC)
Eh, just drop rocks on them all. Even smart people can have rocks dropped on 'em. *grin*

(There may be a reason why I paint pictures rather than writing novels.)
"Rocks fall. Everybody dies."

It's direct, and one size fits all! :)
been done, I think...
Been done sooo many times. S'almost as popular as love stories. ;)
Oh, sure, I'm quoting Something Positive. I just like the line. :)
The advantage the writer has over the characters is time. When characters wing it on the spur of the moment, they often look very clever, while in reality, the author took forever to figure out how they were going to get out of their mess.
A lovely philosophy. Except deadlines.
Brainstorm all possible ways he could do it may help. After a score or so you have to start reaching.
When I get stuck on a "brain problem," it seems to help me to just stop wrestling with it and go do some "no brainer" activity like clean house or work in the yard, or go for a walk/run. The physical activity gets me up moving around and that seems to help --and even if it doesn't work, at least you've got a clean house or a prettier yard, so you haven't totally wasted your time -- LOL!
Something tells me this Bear doesn't need that advice...

Smart is fun - I'd love to try it in real life!

Have you tried chatting about it, or even role-playing?

This character was idly role-playing in a comment strip and was asked a question.

At the time I was in the moment but later I could hardly believe that I'd come up with several unusual ways to kill a vampire, including at least two ways to kill a vampire while it is travelling as smoke. (There was also a pseudo-scientific explanation of why those would work.)

I don't think I'd ever given most of it conscious thought, but it could be a great way to unstick...

(BTW, Thank you for reminding me)

Re: Smart is fun - I'd love to try it in real life!

... As a stray thought, do you think vacuuming a vampire in smoke form into a bagless vacuum (forcing the vampire to pass through a paper filter) would kill them? I can see arguments for and against.

Re: Smart is fun - I'd love to try it in real life!

I can also see arguments for and against vacuuming, but there is supposed to be a way to "reincarnate" a dusted vampire by adding blood, so a player vacuumed up vampire dust in a game I was in. She wanted to ensure that he couldn't be revived without her knowing about it.

(OTOH, a demon character who travelled as smoke so he would have some idea of where he was going hated having to pass through a fan...)

It really needs something that would stop the atoms of dust reforming into the vampire.

Ahhh! If you use a vacuum cleaner with a cloth bag, not paper, you might get rid of the vampire permanently by thoroughly soaking the bag in holy water - it can then be left to dry almost completely before sucking up the vampire.

Any vampire dust in contact with the bag (and certainly any dust that is forced through the mesh of the cloth) will be damp with holy water and should be lethal to the vampire when it tries to reform. It can be expected to burn so the vacuum cleaner may not be much good afterward.

It has just occured to me that one could use a vampire as a bomb, given the right trap...

Speaking as a "smart people", smart people can be really dumb. Smart people can miss the obvious. Smart people can lack context. Smart people can indulge in wishful thinking, willful self-delusion, and self-abusive insecurity.

Would it fit, not to have the character outsmart the nemesis, but to have the nemesis outsmart themselves?
I know you will prevail because it is important to you.

In the meantime may I offer you a small diversion
The Writer by Edson Oda
"This is a short film I created for the Quentin Tarantino's Emerging Artist Contest to promote the film Django Unchained.
...the story of Pedro, a young cowboy who defies the writer of the short film (me)..."

LOL In hindsight I think I needed a laugh this morning. Thank you.
I think I've heard someone else cover this, but not in a LOOONG time, and it I'd near forgotten it existed. It's just too good to be forgotten.
Smart is hard.

Smart is other important things, too.
Just so you know, your readers appreciate you putting in the effort to make your people smart for real.