ACW

ACW

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Real Writing = Real Character

I've mentioned before my favourite disciples are Peter and Thomas. The Bible doesn't mince its words about their failings. It is blunt about all of our weaknesses.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4 v 12 NIV).

This is what I love about the Bible - there is no hiding from God as to what we are yet it is also clear God loves us.

The Bible is blunt in its assessment of human nature - image via Pixabay

Keeping it Real - image via Pixabay

Are you like this with your characters? I loathe some of mine, while others if I could meet them in the flesh, well, we'd get along famously.

I guess this confirms my love of real characters coming through from the page, audio book or what have you. It is typical of our human nature that so often it is our characters' failings which are the big "draw".
If your characters are real enough, being drawn to their world is simpler.  Image via Pixabay
Finding out what happens next to your "real" characters.  Image via Pixabay
Sometimes that is due to our sympathising with those faults; sometimes it is relief, maybe pride, we are nothing like that. I know I've felt that way with characters as diverse as Fagin, Gollum and Scarlett O'Hara!

The irony is as people we may play down or hide our failings, but as writers we must be honest about how we portray our characters. If they've got a rotten temper, that's exactly what our readers need to see. We too must not mince our words if our people/alien beings/robot dogs or other species of choice are going to come across convincingly.

Real books = real characters = taking you to the heights.  Image via Pixabay
If the characters grip you, time will fly by.  Image via Pixabay
As ever, the best approach is to show your people showing their best and/or worst sides. (In flash fiction, my genre, there's only room to show one major trait but I've still got to portray it honestly. This can mean not worrying about what Great Aunt Jane or the minister thinks!).

The great thing from a writing viewpoint is you must know your characters in depth for you to be able to write for/about them well. I ask myself questions about my people/alien beings/robot dogs etc as part of my outline. Yes, I outline flash fiction! Okay, 90% of what I draft never makes it into the final story, but the first reader I've got to convince is me.  I am only convinced once I’ve written that outline.

Where will your characters take you and your readers?  Image via Pixabay
Are your characters pressing on towards the light or away from it?  Image via Pixabay

Also, some of what I jot down for one character may be useful for another in a different piece. Little is wasted overall.

So keep it real. Keep your characters real. This is where write what you know does come in, no matter how bizarre your setting. We know what human nature is like and if in doubt, refer back to the Bible. It shows it up so well!



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