Friday, April 13, 2012

L is for Logic,

We're going to go where no man, no person, human has gone before . . . well actually, that's no true either, BUT . . .

Everyone knows Mr. Spock is the king of logic. Logic can be cold and unfeeling, but for the writer logic can be your best friend especially as you're creating characters.

Creating believable characters is grounded in doing your homework. You must create your characters biographies, know them inside and out (from what toothpaste they use, what clothes they wear and even their political leanings), and give them context. So like Mr. Spock, your characters will act logically within the parameters you've set.

HOWEVER sometimes the most interesting characters are illogical. What causes illogical action? I believe the culprit is emotion and its many forms.

I'm going to refer to another logical Star Trek character . . .

Mr. Data. He was a robot, but he was constantly perplexed by humans and tried his best to understand the sometimes illogical actions of those around him. I remember the story when he was given emotions and he suddenly understood jokes, fell in love, and felt jealousy. All at once he understood illogical/logical humans around him a bit more.

Even though emotions may make your character act illogically, you still have to layer his motivation with logic. Yes, it's a vicious circle in which logic must ground illogical actions. But this is something I believe even Mr. Spock came to appreciate.

Every once in a while Spock would have a moment when he stepped out of character and would do something totally illogical, but always for a good (logical) reason. And those moments were priceless.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is your characters need to have sound logic in their motivations, but if illogical actions are called for make certain you've laid the a logical foundation for those actions. Sounds contradictory, but it really isn't.

Share with me a character that you have read or seen in the movies or on TV that was very logical, but all of a sudden did something very illogical.



  1. I could never get into Star Trek the TV show but I LOVED the movie with Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto from Heroes as Spock. Spock's character is so interesting, the movie (if you haven't seen it) features exactly what you described, how his decisions are based on logic but he's forced into working against that logic to save the ship.

    Good luck with the A to Z challenge!

    1. Stephsco,
      I loved the new Star Trek movie. It was amazing. I can hardly wait for the sequel.

      And your right on target with your assessment of Spock in that movie. Bravo!

  2. hmm don't remember any characters like that. I do like it when they're consistent to their natures:)
    Happy A-Zing!

    1. Nuschell,
      But you're now aware of how important logic is and when you see it in novels or movies you'll recognize it. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I always thought Mr. Data needed a long sleep to get the red eye out Lol!

    1. Jackie,
      Oh I know! How Brent Spinner could stand those contacts were beyond me. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Have you ever seen the HBO movie, Wit, with Emma Thompson? It's fantastic. She plays an English Lit Professor who prides herself in her ability to be completely objective about life and be able to use logic to explain away all her problems. But then she's diagnosed with cancer, and she's forced to come to terms with the fact that logic and knowledge isn't everything.

    1. Andrew,
      I haven't seen or even heard of Wit. I love Emma Thompson, so I can imagine it's a great show. I'll definitely look for it. Thanks!



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