Wednesday, June 11, 2014

06/11/2014 Writing Wednesday!

Greetings everyone and welcome back. I hope the week has been treating you well. I feel pretty tired, but I did a lot of running around yesterday after work so that's probably why. I'm one of the people in charge of putting together a basket that's being raffled off this Friday at work, and the raffle proceeds are being donated to the Relay for Life, which is for cancer research. There have been a few hiccups along the way, but mostly due to a lack of participation from people in the department (or just everyone buying candy...we have way too much) or a dispute over what movies are ok to put into the basket. I'm sure it'll turn out great though, so I'm looking forward to decorating it today.

I mulled over several different topics for today and decided to look at things from an emotional aspect for your characters. Showing the impact something has on them is incredibly important, because it makes them more believable as an individual and also helps the reader become more invested in their story. If you have a story where there is nothing but death and destruction all around and your main character doesn't have some kind of reaction to it (unless that is specifically pointed out why they don't) it is going to break the suspension of disbelief and make the story feel boring for the reader. There needs to be that emotional connection there in order to drive them forward.

This is true for any character or character type. Take Superman for example, nigh-invunerable, super smart, can fly, laser eyes, x-ray vision, super strength, probably some other stuff the older comics made up that were called 'Super-Something-Stupid', if you put that all into one basket and to top it all off he's an alien, it makes it really hard to relate to someone like that. However, make it so he's raised by the nicest couple in the world in Smallville, KS, given good moral values, and even the inclination to still get a normal job that he should be struggling with because seriously...newspaper journalist? When he could get all the money he wants by punching his way into bank vaults and flying away. He cares about people, he cares about his friends, he cares about Lois Lane, and you can tell there is fear in him if/when she's put into danger. That is how you start relating to that character because in those times he knows he can rip the arm of that guy and then snap him in two like a tiny twig, but he doesn't because that would be awful (and messy) and that restricts him, and that makes it so you as a reader don't know what he's going to do next.

Now I'm not saying to make your story a giant bubble of emotion and exposition, because that would get ridiculous and probably a little boring. I'm just saying you need to make sure that whatever happens in the story, to make sure that your character's reactions are genuine. Is someone having a crap day, and did that car accident push them right over the edge so they say something they super regret? Great, put that angst in there and have them mull over it a bit until they either get over it or apologize. Did they lose a loved one and now they have need to deal with that as well as a ton of responsibilities that only they can do that aren't exactly waiting for them to finish the grieving process? There is going to be a lot of flip-flopping there, and a don't forget to reference the stages of loss (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) because they are going to be experiencing that at the exact same time as everything else, and those stages are not linear and you can go back to a previous one. Does the character feel overwhelmed or extremely out of place? Think of the anxiety and stress that would cause a person and let them experience that too.

My point is remember the character you put together when you thought of the story and don't forget to make them a person. There is a reason why I don't understand the logic behind some executives decision to make a certain book series about a cardboard cutout of a person falling in love in a guy who who obviously has some domestic violence issues into a multi-million dollar movie franchise. (It must be the 'multi-million dollar' part.) If you have personal experience dealing with something you are putting your character through, it's fine to emote a little because that will make the story seem more real to the reader. There is nothing wrong with that. In the end it'll make the story far more enjoyable and you will be satisfied you did it.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope the rest of the week is good for all of you. I have no idea what next week holds for me. Last I heard the memorial service was going to be Thursday, which I have off since I work next Saturday, but I don't know what my brain is going to decide to do, especially since I offered to speak. With a portion of the family being ridiculous and no longer knowing if we are having a eulogy my brain feels fried. I will do my best to get the posts up, though I may be stressing over what I need to write for Thursday and forget. I will do everything I can though! Have a great weekend in the meantime, remember Sunday is Father's Day, so hug your dad!

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