Good Sense is Good Writing

 When I was in third grade, I began writing my first novel. It was an interesting attempt, to say the least—a   comedic story of a young girl and her certifiably insane cat. I don't remember much of this story—not the cat's name or the characters or even the basic setting, but I do remember one scene. My main character's older sister, the typical teenager, had her boyfriend over for dinner. Budding novelist me wrote that during the course of dinner, teenage sister's boyfriend began making strange noises and squirming in his seat. Then with a shout, he stood abruptly at the table to reveal a "giant bulge" in his pants (oh dear)!

In my mind, there was a simple explanation. The cat (then a kitten) scratched her way up the boyfriend's pants and ended up as a furry little leg tumor clearly noticable beneath the fabric. I was too naive to see it any differently. My parents on the other hand... Well, they laughed at the unintentional innuendo so much that I was too embarrassed to continue. I didn't try to write again for a few years—not until I had gained a little wisdom and recovered from my shame.

My unfortunate experience came primarily from a lack of worldly knowledge, which I consider to be in the same vein of good sense. I was eight years old or so, so my naïveté is pardonable. If an adult wrote the same scene however, people would shake their heads and say, "She really should have known better." 

Sense, knowledge, maturity, practicality—all of these assets come along with growth, and all are necessary for good writing. Whatever your genre, you've got to have common sense to craft something believable; something that flows well and comes together perfectly at the end. Even in fantasy, a writer's comprehension of reality—real situations, real people, real emotions—should be evident. Otherwise, the work ventures into the ridiculous and leaves the author looking silly (at best).  So use common sense when you write, because sense is the difference between a joke and a masterpiece.

Today's Prompt: Write a short story feauturing a character with good intentions, but bad sense. Teach this character a lesson.

Happy Writing!

KC