Saturday, October 31, 2009

Characterization II- The Lazy Train

This is one of the worst things to which a novice author can submit. Naturally, humans shy away from excess work, but there comes a time when we MUST fight this in order to accomplish anything. Common sense, right? Not for some people.
For me, this is the worst trait a new writer can have; how can you expect others to consider you a writer if you refuse to do so? The same thing goes for those who ask for creative inspiration from others, or write, but cringe when it comes to revisions. No doubt, changing something as personal as a novel is a frightening thought. However, it does not need to be so!
Unlike ignorance, laziness is not so easy to cure. It takes time and effort: two things a lazy writer may fear. They write when they wish, and how they wish, regardless of what the writers they adore are doing. Is there really anything wrong with this trait if the people in question are children? Not necessarily— unless you hope to be an author someday. It is then that this becomes a problem, one which can murder any potential career.
Since we are here to talk about characterization, I must stick to that, or else this will be a never-ending post! J
*Takes a deep breath*
Characters can be frightening people at times. You hate them and you adore them at the same time! They are what drive your story whether you know it or not. Their actions and reactions cause the story to flow— without them YOU HAVE NO STORY!
The hard part is understanding exactly what your job is as a writer. You can a.) create characters or b.) let them create themselves. Usually, this is quite a difficult concept to grasp, so I’ll try and make it easier for you.
You’re sitting in your room one day when suddenly BAM, an idea hits you! However, it is quite so violent: you’ve met a character. Let’s call him Fred for lack of a better name. He says he is an alien with blue skin, yellow eyes, and a slim body. That’s all you know for now, so you open a notebook. Believe it or not, this is where many writers go wrong! You chose not listen to Fred, and instead, simply write what you fancy, or what you think might make a more interesting story. Here’s an example of a would-be writer’s notebook:

I want Fred to have red skin, instead of blue. He needs X-ray vision and a freeze ray.

*blinks* Okay? That’s all?
By this simple action, you no longer have a character in your head— you made him what you wanted him to be, therefore Fred is no longer real.
You don’t always have to listen to your characters though. Of course you can give them traits, but bare in mind that this is a very difficult task. It requires more than the basics. You’ll need to understand the character, why they want what they want, what they’re willing to do to get it, and what they would never do. I cannot stress enough how vitally important these answers are; without knowing at least this, you have little hope of enjoying the novel you write.
So get off the lazy train, everyone! Think, imagine, create . . . WRITE!
Good luck on your writing endeavors!

Still waters always run deep!

No comments:

Post a Comment