Thursday, August 13, 2015

Question to Writers

As a writer, when you hear these words below, what do they mean to you in direct relation to your book's character(s):

COHERENT
ORGANIZED
SYSTEMATIC

Post your responses here and I'll give my interpretation in a new blog posting later.

6 comments:

ChrisChat said...

Coherent...makes sense. Whether as a character or just how they (through my writing) make sense to authors in their actions/dialogue

Organized...can be two ways (1) her purse or home or how she carries herself is thought out, efficient, everything has a place and everything is in its place (2) as writing her I'm not jumping all over the place in her development or behaviour.

Systematic...hmmm, could be used as being organized, but for a character more in a pattern of being. Plotting, moving forward, each step following the next

For my character in MIDNIGHT FIND she's always been very organized and straightlaced (think systematic/methodical following the rules)Coherent...well I would hope I've made her make sense and she's not supposed to be a character who is hard to understand.

However, in my story, she's breaking away from being locked into these qualities (except coherent and we can't run away from a nature to be organized too far)taking more risks and going with the flow

Barbara Ehrentreu said...

COHERENT means that my character comes together in a way that people will be able to understand. What she says should be understood by anyone who reads about her and what she does should not have any questions about it that aren't answered somewhere in the book. My character should have a purpose and a set of goals that make sense to her. Her motivation is what should drive the entire story and it should have a satisfying ending. So the reader feels that it was worth reading the book and maybe has a better understand about not only the character, but also their life.

ORGANIZED means that there is an orderly progression of events that results in a climax and an ending that answers questions. The plot should be able to be followed and you should have the order of 3. Three areas where your character has a problem that needs to be solved. Each problem should create another one until the climax when the character must choose the right path and finally the ending when he character is able to finally either accept or deny the conclusion reached.

SYSTEMATIC really ties up the whole idea of your character being coherent and organized. If you think of writing as a systematic process then you are always thinking about the parts of your story as they relate to your character and your character's motivations. The character's motivations should always drive the story and therefore your story moves in a lock step fashion gradually building to the climax and then descending to the ending.

Alladania said...

COHERENT - This is when Olivia makes an attempt to make sense to the people around her rather than just leaving them thinking she's nuts.

ORGANIZED - This is when Olivia at least attempts to formulate a plan before leaping headfirst into danger. She gets bonus points for sharing the vestigial plan with anyone else involved in the operation.

SYSTEMATIC - This is when Olivia does research, formulates a plan, shares it with others, and then actually attempts to carry it out without improvising.

Lisa Lickel said...

I like Alladania's answer.
To me, those words are clinical, a little cold, using them to describe a character, or as a characteristic would be somewhat off-putting to the reader, holding him or her away at arm's length from your main character, unless you're showing a huge arc, or a person who acts one way in public and private (Shades of something or other, the Devil Wears Prada). There's not a lot of room for foibles, blunders, plan B's. They're not sympathetic, so they wouldn't be the sum of a character, but their opposites would make for some clutzy, ditzy, fumbling, disarming charm (Columbo).

Diana Wilder said...

Hm... Let me give it a try:

Coherent – the character comes across as not confused, on top of a situation as far as expressing his reaction to it or communicating the important element to others. Also, internally, the character is one who does not lie to himself or delude himself. What he sees is what he understands, and while he might indulge speculative thinking, he is conscious of likelihoods. This is positive, generally, but such a character, when thrown for a loop, can suddenly go full speed astern and become completely INcoherent (which can be very amusing, shake up the readers – not to mention the character - and help to further the action).

Organized – This can go several ways. The character has a good grasp of her priorities and the process to be followed to achieve those priorities. People and situations are perceived in their true relation to each other and their importance. While the character can understand these, she also has matters understood in such a way that a sidestep or a random action can be taken, assimilated and shuffled in with the whole. As above, putting a very organized character into a situation where she CAN’T be organized can be eye-opening.

Systematic – as with ‘organized’ and ‘coherent’, this speaks of a character’s ability to approach his or her problems in a precise way. No situation will set him or her at a loss. For most situations, they have a way to handle them – take a deep breath, take two steps back, drink a cup of tea, toss off a shot of scotch…whatever. What if one of these characters is in a place, either physically or mentally, where their ability to tap into their system is curtailed and they have to improvise? Would they have a pleasant surprise when they learn that they can ‘wing it’? Or will they crash and burn and crawl off somewhere to lick their wounds?

Mary Andrews said...

Maybe it's just me, but coherent, organized and systematic would make a character sound boring and predictable.

For coherent,I'd much prefer intriguing or uber aware, lucid or logical.
For organized: masterly, proficient or expert.
And for systematic, I'd rather use relentless undeterrable or adventurous--though systematic not used in conjunction with the other two might not be so bad.

But, as I checked with a thesaurus, I found organized and systematic as synonyms for coherent anyway. Was this a trick question? lol