Friday, December 15, 2006

Psych 101 for writers, readers, and characters

Q: How does 'personality' assist in the writing of fiction?

Answer: Personality...and this means A, B, C and all types, figure heavily in fiction and typically the author's own personality comes into play as does the readers for that matter! A writer has to be somewhat driven and obsessive to stick with it for the duration, and so too must a reader to bring a book to completion. Writer endures to the end, flip-side that, reader hopefully endures to the end.

In the depiction of character, personality is the culmination of conditioning, struggle against conditioning, or failure to make that struggle and accepting one's conditioning (we're all brain washed to something). What motivates a person = personality. Comes of having personal goals, and every character, good, bad, ugly and in between must have goals and perhaps a super goal. Characters have run in with themselves--memories, sensations, images. flashbacks or hallucinations, etc. These form layers in a character's personae. A character is molded by circumstances or resists them. Either way tensions and conflict can come of a stubborn obsessive compulsive, and the most memorable characters have these traits when they set their eyes on the prize. Ahab in Moby Dick had a wooden leg for a reason. If he was sound of leg and mind, if he still had both his legs, or if he had no legs and was confined to a wheel chair and could not act on his mad obsession over the whale, or didn't really care to be bothered, it wouldn't be quite the memorable saga it is. It'd be flatline. Ahab would never walk the deck of a ship. Would not be motivated to do so. Would retire.

Nightmare, memory, learned experience, what's in the character's bedrock DNA is at the heart of personality and story. The best author know how to create full-blown characters fully realized. Characters are multi-layered and complex as in life. Readers today demand far more complexity of character than compelxity of storyline.


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