Saturday, January 8, 2011

That character sure ain't me, lady

I seem to have been having a lot of conversations with my characters lately. You admit that characters know best…and suddenly they all are dying to tell you something.

I was peacefully writing when my character Spiro interrupted my thoughts.

Spiro: Who is that lame character on the page?

Me (confused): You?

Spiro: Well that guy sure as heck ain’t me, lady.

Me: What?

Spiro: That guy is as boring as a cat, only responding when people talk to it. Just sittin’ around doing nothin’ all day.

Me: So you’re saying you that aren’t funny enough? That you’re boring?

Spiro: Yes! Listen, I’m a brat. Haven’t you realized that yet? I make jokes at people’s expense. I turn everything into a comical situation. It’s the only way I deal with the life you’ve given me.

I thought about what he had said a long time and realized that once again my character was right. I had created a flat character. He had a name and a face, but no personality.

And Spiro’s life was anything but pleasant. How had he survived all those terrible years? Spiro had given me the answer. Comedy. It was the only way he could deal with the pain, the heartache, and the suffering he had been through.

I thought that I hadn’t fallen into the trap of writing flat characters…but I had. Spiro wasn’t a person, just a name. Once again, I learned that you need to listen to characters, because chances are that they know more about themselves than you do.

And so I rewrote his character. And now he’s one of my favorite characters. He’s always good for a laugh no matter how tense the situation. He's evolved from a name to a person. It was an interesting experience...one that I'll never forget.

2 comments:

  1. Loved your post.

    Austin sounds like an interesting character. I'm glad you made him multidemensional!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks April, I hope he's multidemensional....that was my goal!

    ReplyDelete

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