I always been very outspoken about the need for story tellers in order to create something truly captivating they need to create real people.
A story stops and starts at believably. Across the board I think this can go for all genres of creative story telling, because the one thing that all story types have in common is their need to resonate, to entertain and captivate their audience.
Every story has been written before. The new comes in with the identity you lend it via your perspective and voice, taking that one step further your interpretation of various perspectives and voices!
We have the ability to become people, live different live, engage with a wide assortment of differentiating personalities and countless walks of life and situation. Who else can say that? What other career can boast as much?
Even actors don’t get the chance to play all parts, to see and construct all sides. We, we must commit to multiple degrees of conviction, consciousness and judgment. We get to play both hero and villain, antagonist and protagonist, but each from the point of view that they are in the right.
If we use characters as mere vehicles for our singular viewpoint we are missing out on a chance to create a world bigger then our own with the ability to engage and affect others. Not to mention have a whole lot of fun in the process!
I know that for my part I am an extremest. I love to perform, have always loved to perform, I stapled sheets to my bedroom ceiling for goodness sake to put on “Love Sucks” an original musical – by yours truly – for my little brother ( to rav reviews might I add. ;))
I love to throw myself into my stories, into my characters, sometimes surprising myself with what comes out of their mouths through me, sometimes it can alter my stories entire trajectory. Not to say that I don’t go into things with a plan, but by outlining a foundation of situation I then plop my characters in and allow them to find their own way out via improv. By being invested and excited to see where they will take me next translates to my finished product by giving me something to take back to my desk and fill out with text.
It’s freeing and just plan fun!
But this technique also works without the physical free-for-all, in fact I use it all the time, when I’m just sitting at my desk working. I’ve always gone into storytelling with a loose outline, I don’t like to have every little detail accounted for. I prefer to get my A, B and C’s in order – all major event markers – then allow from there my characters growth to account for the flow.
Again I am surprised by how some characters come out. They are created to play a certain part in the story, but often times their motives surprise me; their personalities, their interactions and development and how it boosts the impact of the main events.
Again it’s the meat on the bones of structure.
A simple exercises to help flesh these feelings out, help expand your characters reach and base them in reality is, for instance, when your character is reacting to something emotionally, how will you describe it with more then just adjectives?
I say step outside of the situation and put yourself in their shoes, take it on, feel it inside, what is your bodies response? Pay attention to how it sits in your system, recall when something has happened like it in your own past.
No, I’m not one for “method” anything, but often times we are too busy in the moment to truly feel a moment cognitively, but it imprints itself upon our senses and when those are stirred so to is the memory and the emotional response it therefore invokes.
So bring it back up to yourself, stir it and pay attention. By doing this you can put words to the emotions others cannot. You automatically provoke that sensation, that memory and, like a ninja, associate yourself with the emotions it stimulates.
If you can visualize the scene as you are writing it, if you can internalize the characters driving force, switching the perspective insights of your world’s structure between persona and basically evoke a response within yourself I can almost guarantee you that you will be writing something greater than your vision.
You’ll be writing a world and characters that people will want to get lost in.