Writing Stupid People

stupid-people2As a writer you have to deal with all kinds of characters, many of them perceived as offensive or undesirable. You could write man vs. nature tales all day long and avoid this problem altogether, but if you find that plan limiting, then you’re going to have these characters in your story. If you don’t, then where is your conflict coming from?

Alright, with that said, let’s talk stupid people. We all know them. They’re everywhere and so they are going to have to appear in your writing in order for it to seem believable. By my estimation about 80 percent of the world’s population is comprised of stupid people. Yes, that does mean that eight out of 10 people reading this post fall into that category. Well, let’s say more like 5 out of 10. we’re going to assume if you’re here, then you’re above average to start with.

Am I correct? Is 80 percent of the world’s population really stupid? I sincerely hope not. Don’t get me wrong, Darwin would have gotten rid of some of these folks a long time ago if society were not keeping them afloat. However, the vast majority of that number includes people who simply share widely different views than myself. Isn’t that the same thing, you ask? As much as I would like to think so, the answer is no. Just because these views are difficult for me to fathom given my particular groove in life, it doesn’t make those who hold such views dumb. And we cannot simply write them as ignorant or uneducated. That is too easy. We need to dig deeper. We need to cast off our own lives and imagine a world where supposedly stupid things make perfect sense to us. This is how you make that stupid character real. This is how you make the reader love to hate them, rather than just hating them.

So, by all means, throw some stupid people in your story. Just remember that they will more likely garner sympathy. If you want the type of character that will make readers want to punch them in the face because they are so stupid, that usually requires a bit more cleverness on your part.

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