Who the Heck Are You?
Gee, it’s nice to post on IWSG day, again. I miss blogging on a regular basis.
The Insecure Writers Support Group is brought to you by a host of hard working people and created by Alex J. Cavanaugh who is also hardworking. There is a list of IWSG participants here. The IWSG has a website here and you may look them up on Facebook.
This is the question of the month should you want to use it:
Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?
For me, fleshing out characters is an ongoing struggle. More than likely, I have in my mind the story, the setting, maybe a theme, but my characters arrive packaged flat, without faces and lacking personality. I might know if they are male or female, but they do not function in my story as characters.
Now, let me tell you about my loveseat. (WAY to change the subject, T.) I bought this loveseat once from overstock.com. It came delivered to my doorstep, in one box, many pieces, but it was easy to assemble. When it was time for the cushions to be put on the loveseat, I needed to assemble them, too. The instructions read that I must insert the enclosed flattened foam inside each cover. Those same instructions said that once they were released from their packaging, the cushion forms would inflate on their own. Hours later, they were still flat and uncomfortable to sit on. This was not the loveseat that I wanted! So, I made a decision to contact the company the next day to have the loveseat returned. I went to bed.
The next morning, I’m sure you have guessed by now, the cushions had magically come to life, all fluffed and puffed out as cushions go and could now function as intended!
For someone who is character development challenged, I wish it were that easy for me: 1) Take flat characters out of package. 2) Insert in story. 3) Go to bed. 4) Wake up to magically well rounded, nicely formed characters who will function as needed.
It doesn't happen like that for me. I usually start with a questionnaire kind of thing, asking each, “Who the heck are you?” It's when I say to a character, “Who the heck have you become?” that I know I am on the right track.
To answer the IWSG question, I rarely insert me into my characters. I’m way too boring. But I have wondered, can you write fiction without characters? Hmm.