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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

DO YOU KNOW YOUR HERO?


{I just finished my entry for the INSECURE WRITERS ANTHOLOGY
Wish me luck!}

Under what conditions does a person continue to be a person?

Under what conditions does he or she stop being a person?

As a young man, Hitler dreamed of being an artist.

There are private collections of his artwork kept all across the world by different individuals ...

for whatever reasons prompt such people to collect those paintings.

Do they look at those works of art, trying to picture the mind of the man who put brush to canvas? 


To see if they can spot any indication of the monster he later became?
 
Rene Descares maxim: I think therefore I am.

Does what we think determine the person who we are? 


Do our actions dictate that? Or is it a meld of the two?

A zombie. Could we call that a person? It is hunger with a mouth and two legs (usually).

Yet, haven't you met people consumed by the hunger for fame, wealth, social status 


to the extent that they will sacrifice their wives, their children, their health to obtain them?

Do they quality as a type of zombie, emotional hunger driven with little thought for others?

 

What tells you more about a person? The way his body works or how his mind works?

 

I would suggest that language is where our being lives. 

There is the language of words, but there is also the language of action.
 

I say "I love you" but I forget your birthday, I humiliate you in public, and slap you in private. 


The language of action is more persuasive than that of words.

Novels are the only medium that portray the mind well.

Only novels expose the secret life of character.


Do you know your hero/heroine well enough to portray his/her character with a few deft eye lifts or sighs or the finality of a signing of a divorce decree?

The best novels show a mind in conflict with itself, dark urges contesting over the feeble protests of decent urges.

You, as a reader, will find the deepest connection with the character when his or her deepest thoughts are explored.

But they must resonate with truth -- 


the truth of what it means to be human. 

What are your character's deepest thoughts?

They will be about his worries, fears, and hopes.

If you can write a short , genuine-feeling paragraph of the worries, fears, and hopes of each of your characters,

they will come across as real in your novel.

And those paragraphs will help give you a sense of self for each character -- 


and how each one of those characters interact, mesh, or strike sparks off the others in your novel.

How do you write a genuine summation of your character's worries, fears, and hopes?

 

Once in New York City

a rat was filmed by a news crew caught in the middle of a busy street. 

It tried to dart from one side to the other, only to nearly be run over.

As by-standers watched, again and again, it frantically scrambled to the safety of the curb, only to miss death by millimeters.

Finally a whizzing tire caught the rat, sending it spinning and tumbling.

It stayed in one spot cowering.

A man with folded newspaper in hand ran from the sidewalk, scooped up the fearful rat, and tumbled it into the dark safety of the sewer grate.

The man smiled big, got on his bike, taking off. 


The camera crew called after him. "Why did you do that?"

He smiled embarrassed. "I've been scared like that, too."

If you can get your reader to think: 


"I've felt like that, too," 

your character's worries, fears, and hopes will feel real to him and her.

Hope this helps your writing in some small way, Roland

***

18 comments:

  1. Good luck with your entry.
    Love the man with the newspaper. I think many of us have been scared like that...

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    1. That man is my hero of the day. :-) All of us have been scared like that sadly. :-( Cross your fingers for me.

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  2. Good luck Roland! Check your email, please.

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    1. I did. Thanks! Your feedback means a lot to me. :-)

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  3. Hi Roland - that's great news that you've finished your anthology entry. Body language says so much too .. as you've put here with your Rat in the headlights ... so pleased the man felt empathy and was prepared to do something for the poor creature. You certainly have had your fair share of being scared, terrified and worried for your future ...

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Yeah, I've allowed it to re-awaken my old ulcer. Sigh. Now, it is honey, soup, vitamin E, and banana time. Geez, I just made the minions laugh at the word "banana"! :-)

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  4. I've heard that rat story. Good for him that he saved the poor thing.
    Awesome you have your entry ready!

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    1. Yes, that man is my hero of the day as I've said. :-) I'm off to submit my entry now. Cross your fingers and wish me luck.

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  5. I'm overwhelmed with deep thoughts. Love the story and motivation. We definitely have to dig deeper, eh?

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    1. The deeper we dig into the feelings of our characters and in the realities of the world, the more riveting our novel will seem to the reader.

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  6. Congrats on getting your anthology entry done. I couldn't help think of Donald Trump: 'Yet, haven't you met people consumed by the hunger for fame, wealth, social status?' Excellent advice on knowing our characters to portray them with veracity. Thanks as always Roland.

    And do forgive me for the Oscar Wilde blunder. I am under a great deal of stress dealing with a family crisis so had a brain snap. I know Wilde well, having taught him for many years. You sure don't get away with anything in the blogosphere! My bruises will slowly heal.

    Denise :-)

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    1. No stress hits so hard or devastatingly as a family crisis. No need to apologize, for last I checked, we are all allowed to be human, right?

      Yes, Donald Trump fits that definition as does Thomas Edison (I had no idea as a schoolboy what a driven, cruel man he was.)

      Guess that was why I used Edison in my alternate history tale, giving Tesla a chance to strike back.

      Oscar Wilde would be the first to defend your right to stumble. :-)

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  7. I love that story about the poor rat and the kind man, and his reply was perfect.

    Your column today reminded me of a study done which found that people who read intelligent fiction are better judges of character and simply understand people better. I'm not surprised at all.

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    1. Nicely said. I tend to shy away from poor fiction. Too many other good things to read besides some of the sit-comish style books out there today.

      - Eric

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    2. Perhaps they read intelligent fiction BECAUSE they are better judges of character and like Eric are turned off by cotton-candy characters. :-) Astute comment.

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    3. Cozy murder mysteries turn me off. Murder of a human being is ugly and nasty and not some sit-com as you say. Helena was astute, wasn't she?

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  8. Adding my wish for your luck in the story, but you don't need it at all. You're a professional.

    Helena pretty much stamped out what I was going to say, but far less verbose. If I don't really get into my characters, I cannot proceed with the story from the author's side -- if ~I~ don't care about them and what happens to them, who will?

    That's one of the things that I love about your writing. I've read several of your books and stories, and none of them can claim shallowish characters. Gritty, witty, playful perhaps, but never shallow. It shows depth of heart and passion for your craft that not all writers possess.

    - Eric

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    1. That is very nice of you to say about my stories and novels. I try to touch some inner chord in my reader's heart and mind so that the story will catch him or her up.

      You made my weary evening so much better for your comments. Thanks. :-)

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