Friday, September 9, 2011

Oh, The Places We Go...


Guess what one of my favorite aspects of writing a story is - creating the journey a character - and a reader - will take. These journeys give more than a great plot and an emotional pull to their readers - they give the gift if perspective.

As an author, I like to explore the many different aspects of humanity - the good and the evil, the light and the dark, reality and illusion. I do this through my characters and the roads they travel, both physical and psychological.

In one of my earlier novels, my character travels into a parallel world, one in which her every thought manifests itself in reality. Through the plot, the character learns about her own inner power and how to control her base emotions. In another story, my characters' journeys force them to examine sacrifice and the true cost of redemption. And in my current novel, the mc must travel through the fantasy of his sanity in order to understand the realities of his madness.

Yea, I'm a sucker for the psychological journeys we make as we grow into adulthood.

But how do I develop that arc? How do I enable that character to grow?

For me, it's all about the personal crises my characters must experience as they progress through the plot. I make my characters go beyond their personal breaking points. I challenge their belief systems and push them to that place beyond the reach of hope. It is in that place that they change. They evolve.

This is the ultimate journey all of my characters must take - the journey through chaos to enlightenment, regardless the cost.

What about you?  How do your characters grow and develop?  What journeys do they take? And what new perspectives to you bring your readers?

6 comments:

  1. I so needed to read this post today. Like you, I'm a sucker for the psychological arc of characters. Without pushing them past their breaking points, I don't enjoy writing as much, you know?

    Usually, I map out the inner conflicts first, then deal with what triggers them externally. I always like to have characters who change their minds about something, whether it's their outlook on life, love, death, etc. The more complex, the better. BUT that's also a lot of work.

    *pouts*

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  2. I love psychological twists and turns too! Or maybe I just like torturing my characters. Wait, that sounded wrong. :) Happy Weekend!

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  3. Ok those all sound awesome! Though my books aren't as blatantly psychological, I definitely put my characters through some huge faith-shaking experiences. I like to turn their worlds upside down and see how they react :)

    Thanks for the post!

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  4. That's a wonderful way of looking at things, Christine. I'm working on my first novel, and I'm finding pacing hard for the character acts. I'm used to short stories and things happen fast there.

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  5. I outline. I start with bare bones. As I add detail, the plot develops, and I add more detail. My outlines end up 70-80 pages. Even then, I think I need more.

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  6. Wow, your characters' minds have to go to some deep places.

    I usually start with some sort of fear for my character. S/he has to work through it.

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Thanks for your input!