Thursday, March 26, 2009

Character Study

Most fiction writers are amateur psychologists (some are genuine). We create our story characters out of thin air. We give them pasts that have shaped the character as he or she appears in the story. We give them goals and fears, strengths and foibles, friends and enemies. Writers observe the world around them with a slightly different viewpoint than "normal" folks. :-)

Which brings me to...

I started reading a blog written by a fascinating character. The blogger appears to be misleading readers through omission. I find this interesting because when reading the blog as written, one assumes the blogger has a particular set of skills, knowledge and abilities. However, when you are aware of facts that the blogger omitted, you realize the blogger is not only receiving assistance with the reported accomplishments, but paying a professional to achieve the stated goals.

When I first started reading the blog, I thought the writer had chutzpah to spare. Now I think it may be the opposite. What would motivate a person to mislead others into thinking the blogger is more accomplished than the writer actually is? Low self esteem? Was the blogger raised with expectations that the writer fears are not achievable? Is the blogger intimidated by others who demonstrate competance with the desired skills? Hmmm.

Pondering the blogger's method of misleading through omission may provide the starting point to develop the antagonist in one of my stories. The protagonist is a student worker at a training stable who has no horse of her own. She's a talented rider, but is limited to showing school horses. Onto the scene arrives the spoiled girl with the obscenely expensive horse. As they say in the writing business -- complications ensue.

Where do writers get their ideas for characters? Everywhere!

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