Building on yesterday’s exercise, let’s look at another way to show that your main character is in a rut. Yesterday, we considered how denying or avoiding feelings can show that your hero needs to get out of their safety zone.

Another way is portraying their relationship with the truth. People lie, sometimes for good reason. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or we want to protect someone from a difficult situation.

However, those are often excuses. What we really want to avoid is the other person’s reaction. We don’t want them to be angry with us. We’re afraid we won’t know how to comfort them. We might not have the emotional skill to help them deal with trauma. We lie to protect ourselves.

Regardless of their motivation, lies are relationship inhibitors. They prevent your protagonist from acting authentically and providing a moral viewpoint.

Does your hero have a problem with the truth? What information is he withholding? What secrets should she reveal? These might contribute to major plot points or might be something as simple as hiding a bad habit from the people we love.

Consider your recent projects and your main character’s relationship with the truth. Who is the character protecting by telling this lie and who is actually going to be hurt by the lie? It’s likely this will be the same person. Why is your protagonist telling the lie and what lies does he tell about his motivations?