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Thursday, March 31, 2011

People Watching

As I walk to school I walk past a lot of people and think about what they may be thinking about. What is on their minds? Are they happy are they sad are they anxious or depressed did they just get a new boy/girlfriend. What is going on up in their mind behind the masked face. It is fun to watch how they walk how they look and how they talk on their phones. I think the talking on the phone is very interesting and then watching them when they get off. Their entire demeanor changes when they are finished talking to the other person. The same thing happens when they are walking with someone who then goes in another direction. Start watching people their actions/body language can tell you so much about them.

I recently wanted to do a poll of sorts where I would watch only how the person walked and then ask them on a likert scle of how happy they are. It would be interesting to see if their was a significant correlation between how a person walks and how happy they are.

“There are seven universally recognized emotions shown through facial expressions: fear, anger, surprise, contempt, disgust, happiness, and sadness. Regardless of culture, these expressions are the same.” ( In a class I took a while back we talked about how much of communication takes place in our facial expressions and that a majority of it is in the eyes. We as writers need to be able to show our readers our characters emotions by their facial expressions.

So go out and watch some people!!

What are some things you have noticed about people as you watch them?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Intake Interview Part 1

I have always found it amazing at the number of people there are in this world and yet you will never find two that are exactly alike. Even identical twins have differences. I look at my own sisters and see how different they are. Many people would ask me how can you tell them apart and I would always reply how can you not tell them apart. They move different they act different they sound different their behaviors are different. Even though they are identical twins they are still different.

Our characters must also be different. They must feel different to the reader. This can be done in many different ways. How they talk, mannerisms that they have, how they look, how they act in certain situations. It is very important that we get inside their heads that we know them inside and out so that when we put them down on paper they are still alive that they are not just one dimensional but become multidimensional.

When I counsel I always start with an intake. This is where I find out everything about the person. I find out about their medical history, their family history, their mental illness history, anything that has anything to do with the person. Were they pre-mature, how was the pregnancy, was the mom on drugs the list goes on. We need to setup an intake session with our characters to find out their inner workings then write up our findings. What are their strengths their weaknesses. Can we diagnose them with any personality disorders or mental illness?

Get to know your character better than you know yourself (I wouldn’t recommend getting to know yourself this well it may cause problems). When we really know our characters then we will know how to write about them.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Why do people change?

Why people change is a great place to start in getting to know our characters. It is important to understand why people change so we can make a realistic story in which our characters change. There are actually quite a few theories out there on why we change. My personal feeling about change, in a nutshell, is that we change when things are too hard to stay how we are. In other words, when it takes more energy to stay how we are than it does to change, we change.
This seems simple and it is but the hard part is when the person doesn't realize the amount of energy they are using to stay the same. Think about those who stay in their addictions. They use extreme amounts of energy to stay how they are. They have to worry about going to jail, their next fix, their loved ones no longer wanting to be around them, and on and on, yet they stay the same. It seems that it would be easier to give up the drugs and addiction so that things would be easier, less energy. So as we work with helping others and more importantly ourselves we must first realize that change is necessary.
So, how does this apply to our characters? Remember, change is resisted by people and that includes our characters. They are not going to up and change just for the fun of it. They need something that will push them to the point that it takes more energy to stay the same than it does to change. We as writers must understand our characters limits, their breaking points that send them too far and the point that pushes them to change.

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