Acting is quite tricky to catch when editing.
“Now what is this silly girl talking about?” you might ask.
Well… your characters, of course. For your story to work, your characters need to be realistic. By realistic, I mean they must act in a way that people do.
Which is a fun concept, because every person is different.
So how can I say characters must act like people?
Easy. People (usually the sanish ones, but the less than sane ones too) have motivations, dreams, desires. They have personalities. Complex personalities. Including quirks. And they are ruled by them.
So. Take this guy (and yes, I am aware that this will be a cliche fest):
|Image by extranoise|
Let’s call him Jack. Jack looks like a really nice person, and he is. He has some issues about his image (which is silly, because he’s actually a good looking boy) from when he was a small boy wearing specs. He’s sensitive and caring and generally speaking an affable guy. Everyone’s best friend. Including Jill’s:
|Image by tibchris|
He’s not going to snark. He’s not going to be a badass dude waiting to knife you in the back. So anything that he does and says that goes against that, has to be fixed when you edit.
Except, of course, it happens around this guy.
|Image by xlordashx|
See this badboy (let’s call him Stephan) is cheating on Jill. And everyone knows. Except Jill, because she refuses to believe it. So if Jack didn’t have a negative reaction around Stephan, he wouldn’t be acting to character either.
So if you were to write Jack’s story, it’s vitally important that everything that Jack does and says fits with who he is. Even the things that look like they’re out of character until closer inspection.
Look out for these:
1) Moments sticking out because it isn’t gelling with the rest of the scene.
2) Dialogue that doesn’t suit the character.
3) A supposedly sane character looking bipolar because there’s no constancy to the way he acts.
Do you get your characters to act true to who they are? What shows you that your character’s “acting” is off?