So I’m going to talk anyway 🙂
Today I worked my volunteer job and a number of things happened throughout the day that made me realize people are more than who they think they are, more than where they stand, more than what they do. They’re people. Complex human beings, all with a story, all with a past, all with endless streams of collective data shooting through their synapses at speeds in which no human can comprehend. Knowledge.
It’s quite unfathomable just how simple it is to share stories yet how complex the action really is and just what it takes to partake in a conversation, and all the senses used in which to understand a person (basic language skills don’t mean much.)
A person walks up to you and says hello. What is the first thing you notice? Hair style, color? Dress? Shoes? Smile?
What’s the first thing your subconscious noticed? Subliminal muscle cues in which tell you whether that person is friend or foe, their intention, their expectations and emotions. The subconscious is powerful, my friend, and it’s smarter than you think. It’s more than just a sensory perception, it’s an intuition, a deep rooted tool of understanding and learning, use it.
Why do I say this? How does it pertain to writing? Because in order to understand how characters interact and make it believable within story telling, you must understand it in real life. Have you ever had a short conversation with a stranger and find yourself parting ways and wondering “what just happened?” (Particularly if something drastic changed within those few moments.)
The person approached you and your subconscious made its first assessment. Your conscious followed through with conscious sensory perception dictated through, among other things, societal standards, upbringing, media, opinions you’ve developed over the period of (insert number) years, feelings, judgments, more. Viola, an initial judgment (good or bad) is made. And then you reacted to it. For instance, a woman walks up to you and your subconscious decides she isn’t a threat and she seems quite friendly. Then your conscious realizes she’s naked and whoops, there triggers your learned patterns of (insert number) years and your reaction to her friendly hello much differs from that of the same woman walking up to you in the same exact way, only clothed.
The way in which you describe your character approaching another and the reaction it causes must fit both the conscious and subconscious cues. This requires a deep understanding of your character. This also requires a deep understanding of yourself. With the additional fact that everyone is different, everyone reacts differently, and everyone is fueled by different things. (With some exceptions being the basic and primal survival, love, jealousy, instinct and the general need for human interaction and contact- all of which fall under the ‘survival’ category.)
There’s nothing I love more than getting to know someone, and I derive the same pleasure in getting to know the characters I create. As I’ve said before, characters are people, and they are real for the time in which your story is told (read, seen, etc.) and so they better be real to you during the time of which you create them, or they fade away into nothing but what is perceived as ‘bad story telling’ or unrealistic story telling. If you can’t figure out how your character feels- don’t be afraid to figure out how you feel. It’s essential. People tend to be afraid of their emotions. You don’t have to be. Being afraid of how you feel is unrealistic in its own way- and there’s no reason for it. Be honest with yourself.
If you can’t be honest with yourself, then you’re not going to figure out how to be honest with your readers. Don’t be afraid to speak, even if at first, you don’t know what to say.
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