12 May 2013

Be Mean To Characters-The Little Things

Everyone is busy. If it's not kids, it's aging parents, or a needy spouse, or soccer practice, or a day job, or a night job, or a service opportunity, or a random obligation you didn't mean to say yes to, or an old friend in from out of town, or a cold, or the microwave blows up, or pursuing a hobby, or a mental illness or a struggling friend, or a lack of sleep that is about to drive you batty, or the simple fact that you're in a bad mood and have no extra energy by the time 8pm comes around.

And I came up with those from just three people. Imagine what it's like when we put everyone's stresses in one pile. I think that's what is now referred to as “Going Postal.”

But that's not what this blog post is about.

A few minutes ago, I sat staring at my computer screen, wondering what I should blog about. I'm frustrated about things that have nothing to do with writing, but they're effecting my writing. Affecting? Whichever. I didn't think I had anything writer-ish to type about.

But then my brain kicked into gear.

Oh yes, go brain.

Are you ready for this? This is so brilliant I'm pretty sure I've stolen it from somewhere.

Think about the last character you wrote or are writing. What are their worries? Sure, they've got those pesky aliens who are about to invade and destroy all the rolls of toilet paper on the planet (hey, this is really serious), but what else is going on? Ex-girlfriend bugging him? Maybe his dog is at the Vet for a haircut and must be picked up by 5:00pm or they charge an extra $50, which he just used to buy the last cell phone charger at the store because his phone was about to die as he was talking to the woman in charge, who is his now girlfriend and is really, really mad that he hung up on her.

Maybe his mother doesn't approve of said girlfriend. Or his best friend is trying to sell an old Porsche and keeps asking what price he should put on it. And his tap dancing instructor wants him to do a show on Friday night.

Who knows!?!?!

If we have these little concerns, than our characters do too.

So put them in your story. If your character isn't at least as stressed out as you are on TOP of whatever the story is about, then their life is way more fair than yours is.

You'd better take care of that.


Unknown said...

Amen Sister!

mshatch said...

what an excellent idea! I like it!

AVDutson said...

Great. Like I don't have enough to worry about.