Happy Wednesday, good people of the blogosphere! February is about to step out and March will be upon us soon! I hope it brings you all peace and good fortune. 2013 is shaping up to be a pretty good year on this side of the country, and my blessing is that you all have the same success. Today we're going to delve into true nature. You know how much I like to go on and on about characters, and today is no different. Writing The Bird taught me a couple of lessons I'd like to share with you today. So, grab your pens and notebooks and let's get going!
Humans are such interesting creatures! They play mind games, put themselves on a pedestal, and manipulate others to get what they want. However, they can also be generous, kind, and caring. Whatever they are, it's their true nature. Pretenses can only be held on to for so long before the mask melts away, leaving their soul bared for all to see. This is important to remember when writing.
When I was writing The Bird, I had a loose outline in my head and the first few chapters plotted carefully. After that, I flew by the seat of my pants. I'm glad I did, because if I'd forced my characters into the roles I'd laid out for them, the book would've ended very differently. I love the ending! It was brought about by the true nature of my characters; which wasn't revealed until about halfway through.
This sounds crazy, huh?
But it's not. It's like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole when you attempt to force a character to conform. If you let them have their own way, they'll show you things your imagination could never come up with on its own.
But, Jo, it's in my head already, right? Something just happened to make it manifest on the page!
Not necessarily. As with life, it takes time for a character to show you the truth about themselves. They like to hide under masks and play cloak and dagger games with you; just like humans. Discovering what a character may be hiding is like finding a diamond in a lump of coal. But you have to give them time to reveal themselves.
You don't really know someone until you've been around them for a couple of years. In that time, watch how they interact with others, pay attention to the nuances, and listen carefully when they recount events you were present for to bystanders or other friends. It'll tell you a lot about their true nature. Everyone wants to be liked and revered; but that mask only lasts so long. You'll get glimpses if you pay attention.
I was caught completely off guard by my characters. Looking back, I now see the signs indicating exactly who they were on the inside. Their masks had me fooled, and I'm pretty shrewd!
So, take a look at your WIP's characters and look at what they're doing on the page. Really take the time to examine their actions and words. You may find that diamond.
Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!