15 February 2011

Developing believable characters - my 2p worth

photo by Idea goat http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

I have been struggling to find a voice for this blog since the beginning. There are so many writers' blogs out there. There are so many excellent writers and published authors sharing their knowledge of the craft and their tips on the industry. Who am I to compete with them?

I like Suzie Quint's idea of presenting careers for characters. I think it's quite original. I wanted to do someting like that.

Jody Hedlund's article 'How to avoid becoming another boring writers' blog' got me thinking a little more.
Is there anything unique I can offer to fellow writers? Do I have an interesting story to tell?

And then came Scott Egan's comments on characters he doesn't like. Scott is right, in an attempt to create powerful internal conflict, sometimes writes come up with characters who have just too much emotional baggage to be believable.

Characters have to be real. They have to have life experience which has shaped them into the person they are now. People don't become bad without good reasons. People generally don't get over a trauma in a blink of an eye, but their worlds don't fall apart without good reasons in the past and present.

And then I had a light bulb moment.
My day job involves a lot of listening to people's stories and trying to make sense of what I've heard. I have heard so many stories I can usually tell a real story from a made-up one. I am pretty good at guessing how certain people would react to certain events and attitudes based on their history. I can even, sort of, predict, what their lives may be like in the future.

No, I'm not a fortune teller. I'm a shrink. And this is what I can offer my fellow writers. I can share my experience of understanding human nature to help understand how to create believable characters with potential for powerful conflict but without too much emotional baggage.
Heros, villains, stereotypes or archetypes - you name it. Do you want to have an insight into human's mind?
Join me - I'll open the door for you.

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