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Characters and Stupidity

MrDupin January 5, 2016 User blog:MrDupin

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Recently I wrote a story, Grandma's Apartment, which is based on something that happened to me a few days before I wrote it. I really want to point out that everything that happened in the story happened to me, except the ending (+ some little edits to make it more of a creepypasta). The main character is me and everything he does and thinks I did and thought.

Why am I telling you this? Well, there is a point in the story where the character acts very stupidly. It is one of those classic moments in horror movies and stories where a character does something very stupid to further the plot. As I was writing that moment, I was constantly thinking this wouldn't sit well with readers. They would instantly think "Hey, why is the character so stupid? Nobody acts like that, so unrealistic. -15/47"

Problem is, it isn't unrealistic. I did it. I made that "stupid" decision and everything turned out fine. Because in real life, rarely do things go south in a protected environment. Even though I was legitimately scared, I knew it was all in my head. So I went through with the "stupid" decision. That decision in real life was the logical one.

But in the context of a creepypasta, that decision is very unrealistic. Quite probably because as readers we know that horror stories (in their vast majority) don't have happy endings and "risky" decisions are usually a death sentence.

I just now realised that what we think as a realistic reaction when reading a story might not be realistic in real life, which is strange and had never occured to me before.

What I'm trying to say is, either characters in horror movies/stories actually act realistically, or I'm stupid.

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