I have a young kid, and as you might have guessed, she’s up the phase where she is making up stories. She takes her toys around the house and they talk to each other. It’s absolutely adorable. That being said, there’s a recent trend in her games that I’ve also noticed from time to time in writing.
Of course, the young child’s version is really obvious what shouldn’t happen, but it crops up more subtly in other writing (including my own!).
“Hello, I’m Horsey!”
“Hi! I’m Horsey too!”
“But you’re Baby Jaguar!”
“Oh, you’re right. I am Baby Jaguar.”
If I were to name this trope it would be Identity Crisis Solved Because I Said So! Or Once Spoken It’s True. In my fiction it tends to crop up when I’ve lost track of how I’m giving information and I decide someone needs to know something. So I have someone tell the MC (hold out on this for the biggest drama: “Luke, I am your…” You get the hint). The problem is that when I’m drafting, sometimes *I* didn’t know that’s what they were until I had a character say it. That means that everything that’s been said or done so far has to be retooled to account for this new piece of information.
More specifically, the character who had the information should act like they know the information. For instance—I know this is pretty old school, but stick with me—in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Christian Slater’s character is a real twit. And when he divulges the information that *Spoiler alert* he is Robin’s brother, it makes sense that he was a complete twit up until that point.
Now, having said all that, I’d put this as a revising tip. First drafts are almost impossible, so just write the story, fill it with Once Spoken It’s True, but then go back through and make sure that people are acting like they have this information all along. It’s not as hard as you think, but it’ll help. I promise. No really, it’ll help.
So what about you? Are you a Once Spoken It’s True writer? I am. I’m terrible that way (my first drafts are comparable to a hot mess with a personality disorder).