Why characters act ILLOGICALLY

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So the question was: "I want to know how to "persuade" your character in a sense to avoid a situation/keep a secret though all logic and sound reasoning points against it." -magbutt

Or in other words, how do you get a normally rational, logical character to start making irrational and illogical decisions?

The answer is emotion.

When you are overcome with extreme emotion-grief, fear, anxiety, love, etc.-they control you more than your brain sometimes. An example would be neo from the matrix sacrificing every human on earth so he could save trinity, whom he loved. Gut feelings are a less severe example of this.

So rile up your character's emotions, emotionally compromise them somehow, and they can start making illogical decisions. Think about Spock from the star trek movie becoming emotionally compromised after the death of his mother, so he stepped down from command. Once youre emotionally compromised, you can't be trusted to make rational decisions.

Now the question is how do you emotionally compromise someone?

The answer to that is shove them out of their comfort zone! They watched their loving mom die right in front of them? Emotionally compromised! They have severe stage fright and now have to give a speech in front of half the city? Emotionally compromised! Hot guy alert? Emotionally compromised! Being chased by a giant spider? Emotionally compromised!

Note, not every out-of-comfort-zone situation will emotionally compromise your character and cause them to do stupid things. Some people will thrive under pressure, so with them, you have to push farther. PUSH THEIR BUTTONS. Get them flustered or terrified or worried or madly in love or whatever emotion you want. Just figure out how to get them to the extreme.

Another option is raise the stakes. Bringing the deadline closer. Putting a time limit on their goal. GET. THEM. DESPERATE. They might become narrow-minded and only see the one problem rather than the big picture (Neo is so focused on Trinity that he doesn't care he's about to condemn 7 billion people).

It's really fun to do with the calm, cool, collected characters. The ones who never seem to miss a step. If you can find out what'll emotionally compromise them, you'll get to explore a whole different side of them, and it'll reveal things about them no one would've ever known.

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