Actions Matter

The idea that actions speak louder than words is an old one and a good one. It is true in day to day real life and in fiction.  Just as a person says a great deal by what they do (or don’t), a writer can say so much with the actions or lack thereof of their characters.

What we say can be beautiful and heartwarming but if how we behave contradicts those words, our words will no longer mean anything. The same is true of our characters. If their actions contradict their words (in ways that aren’t explained), as readers, we will stop trusting those characters. I don’t mean placating a difficult person because that usually comes across pretty easily. There are times when we might have a reluctant to admit their own feelings sort of character but that’s also pretty easy to spot and they nearly always figure out what they really want by the end of the book. The problem comes when we have a character who says all the right things and it isn’t a plot point that what they do is physically ignore the object of their lovely words.

I do realize there are some types of stories that wouldn’t exist without people being a bit hypocritical or dichotomous with their words and actions. There are occasions when that distrust of a character is essential for a story but when you see a perfectly good character speak so eloquently about something one page only to completely ignore the object of their beautiful words (be it a person, thing, place or idea) on the next, you just want to walk away. Or at least I do.

It is as annoying when people do it in real life too but it’s easier to spot in fiction and I’m just easily annoyed today. At some point, I’ll probably forget why I set it down and pick up the book again. I may even like it on a different day just not today. Fortunately Face Off is on tonight and looks like it’ll be a really fun episode so at least I have that to look forward to!




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