Monday, August 16, 2010
Roots: the keys to our pasts and futures
Isn't this a cute group of kids? My dad's buried under the pile. I'm probably eight, since I'm guessing Joel is about one.
Eric pulled this photo out last week. You can learn a lot about me by this photo.
And I got to thinking about what that means for the characters I create. This week, I plan/hope to work on proposals for new books and series. Often the hardest part of the process for me is taking the time to drill down into the main characters' psyches. What makes them act, think and talk the way they do?
For example, most who know me correctly identify me as Type A within about three minutes. Look at this photo. Doesn't it make sense? I'm your stereotypical first born...just read Kevin Leman's Birth Order book if you're not sure what that entails. And this photo clearly shows that. Who has her arms wrapped around all three of her siblings? Yep...
But that's a simple characterizer. Identify the birth order of characters and it gives a core set of criteria for how they might act. But it's certainly not a guarantee.
I also tend to engage a full room -- doesn't matter how many people are in it. That's not necessarily a function of my birth order. For me, I think it had more to do with being an early homeschooler who felt the need to break the stereotype that homeschoolers are wallflowers. And I genuinely like people. But why might a character be an extrovert or introvert? What's the lie they believe about themselves?
All of these questions require thought and diving deep. Hard work. But critical to creating characters readers can emotionally connect with. And that after all is what we all want!