How are my characters born?

October 27, 2013

Many think themselves so interesting they are worth an entire novel, others think themselves so uninteresting as being worth nothing more than a mere word. 

 

Indeed, the easiest way to describe a character is to use an adjective like sexy, beautiful, sultry, handsome, strong, mysterious, shy, sad,  but through observation, the people or characters I find the most intriguing are the ones who care not how they compare to others but merely continue to exist as they desire. These people are often the ones we judge for not 'fitting in'. These are the characters that challenge me, my views and ways of being. 

 

I like to observe all people as I stand, wait or sit in cafe, bar or park waiting for one of them to spark my imagination. The characters that do are neither loud nor timid, they are not vivacious or simple, instead they seem to exist inbetween those words of description. They are simply themselves and tend to have traits many of us would feel embarrassed or ashamed to expose.

 

I have heard, too many times, an actor say "my character wouldn't do or say that." The truth is we never know what someone is capable of doing or saying - not even ourselves. Given all situations we are likely to respond and react in different ways. I think an actor's role is to accept this idea then seek a character's unique motivation to react appropriately. As a writer, my role is to make my characters action and reaction believable.

 

I also try to challenge character and gender paradigms, when appropriate. Characters need to exist by their own conditions without being overly affected by societal restrictions. There's no point in attempting to write cliche characters because we've seen it all before -  we might even see them in ourselves. My aim is to present another way, another view, another perspective to the usual and accepted path of how life should pan out. 

 

I crave characters that challenge me wholly. Sometimes these characters are passionate to the point of being judged angry, sometimes they are empathetic to the point of being judged boring, but mostly they evoke in me adjectives I rarely use or think of. It is then that I know I have found a unique character. 

 

What adjective would you use to describe you?

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