Today we've got guest musings from Dean C. Rich, the maestro of The Write Time blog. Besides being the man who scored the most sought-after blog name, he also the author of Seven Silver Swords, a project he has been polishing to a mirror finish for some time now (nudge, nudge...). Look upon his works, ye mighty, and feel just a wee bit inspired.
Characters. Basic item for any story. Fundamental. There are many memorable characters throughout literature.
Creating a character for a story isn’t always easy. Movies have all sorts of characters, just look at the closing credits: 1st cop. Lady with a purse. Guy with beard.
Someone to take up space on film. Not hard.
However, words on paper are precious. Crafting a character may seem easy on the surface. The author takes time to learn about what the character likes, dislikes, looks like, etc. Once the character is set loose in the story, they take on a life of their own. Very seldom does the character do what the author intends.
To create a character the author puts a little bit of themselves into the character. One must write about what one knows.
To a point.
Conflict is the point of any story. Characters have conflicts. I know when I’ve written things I’ve had to do research, but my characters have done things I would never do.
There are so many topics to write on, so many stories, and so many different conflicts. I’ve read some stories about serial killers. I know the writer isn’t a serial killer, but the character is. What the characters do in the story isn’t a part of the writer. Sometimes writers have to do difficult things to make the story work.
I know I’ve several characters I identify with, I’d like to be like that character. My character reflects what I want to be. Then there are the darker characters with flaws and issues that I have worked hard not to have. Yet I must reflect those items in the story.
One thing that works for my writing is to read my words aloud. Read the dialogue. Action; where I can – act it out. It becomes real. So when the characters are contrary to my personal character: Identity Confusion.
Like an actor who plays the dark parts, contrary to themselves, decompression is needed to return to their balance.
When have you experienced Identity Confusion? How did you deal with it? Were you successful?