“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt
When I was little, I loved sweet and sugary cereal for breakfast. My mother didn’t buy it often, but when she did, she bought the Kellogg’s Assorted Fun Pack. I loved all of them, so it was tough to make a decision. Frosted Flakes were great, and so were Sugar Smacks, but Cocoa Krispies turned the milk into chocolate milk, that was a bonus.
Recently I heard the average person can make up to 5000 decisions a day. Initially I thought there’s no way that’s accurate, but then I started to think. When I wake up in the morning, I decide to turn off the alarm clock, to get out of bed and to put on my slippers. That’s three decisions and my eyes have only been open for one minute. Our mind doesn’t see all of the little decisions we make as a big deal because it’s part of our daily routine.
A big decision I must make as a writer is whose point of view (POV) to use for each scene, unless I’m writing in first person, which I love. My job is to choose one character that will control the scene. I’ll ask myself who has the most to lose and to gain? Which character has the most important information to reveal to the reader?
Next, I’ll decide which character has the most potential to learn or to grow. My POV characters should not only have a stake in the plot, but they also need to have a character arc. They must be different at the end of the story than they were at the beginning.
My last decision is which characters are the most compelling. As a reader, this is important to me. Which character do I want to know and become more intimate with? As a writer, which character do I want to get to know inside and out? Which character has the deepest flaws and is constantly facing obstacles? This type of character will resonate best with my readers and I’ll enjoy telling their story.
Decision making is a fundamental part of being a writer. We’re continually making decisions about the whats, whens and hows of our work. If only it were as easy as deciding between Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Krispies.
How do you decide which character will control the scene? And I have to ask, when you were little what was your favorite sugary cereal?