I’ve got to bring my characters to life. They need to do more than “do” stuff. I need to make them live, breathe, want, need. They need to “be”…real.
As such I am currently in search of deeper motivation for my characters. I need to stay out of the shallows of your stereotypical “archetype.” Where do I go to find these characters? Ms. Muse???
Ms. Muse: Write what you know.
Ms. D: Really??? That’s it???
Ms. Muse: Yes. That’s it. If writing was easy, you wouldn’t be wasting your time writing this blog.
Slam…the truth. But then…insight! I get it! Write what you know. We’re not talking about birdhouse construction or synchronized swimming. We’re talking about the knowledge you hold in your heart; your experience, your life.
I’m reminded of Pat Conroy and The Great Santini. He wrote about the characters he knew. He took a chance. He wrote from the heart and crafted a novel of extreme depth. I’ve heard it said that initially his father refused to speak to him after he read the book but then proudly attended the premier of the film of his son’s novel.
Mr. Conroy is a more-than-worthy inspiration.
I’m going to do it. Since I lack the creativity to “make people up” I’m going to use what I know to bring my characters to life. I’m going to dive deep and explore the bottomless fathoms of the various character traits of those with whom I’m most familiar, including but not limited to, my not-so-normal extended family, referred to in private as “the good, the bad, and the ugly.”
I wonder if anyone will recognize themselves??? Gulp.
Ms. D: Dare I strive to go there? Do I have the courage to take the plunge into the abyss of the heart and soul of my characters?
Ms. Muse: Do you want to be nice…or published?