I remember a time when I would explain myself in conversation. I remember taking cues from the other person and watching them react. Should I tweak it? Should I reconsider? I remember clearly because it was not so long ago.
As time passes and gray hairs surface, the world pushes us deeper into our own skin and if we choose it, we can learn to feel comfortable in it. Again, this is a choice.
Right now, I’m working on a story and it came time to sit down and invest in some character development. I did this on a character that reminded me of myself. (Give me a break— I’m a first time writer, this sh*t is bananas hard.) Anyway, as I looked up different ways to break a character down, I found a list of questions I’d like to share: (I’m saying this in my best teacher voice)
How has the character’s upbringing affected them? What beliefs have they adopted? How are they positive and negative?
What vices does the character have?
What are the characters pet peeves? (This will reveal a lot; examples will show how the character thinks/feels about certain things.)
What are the characters strong points? (This will allow the character to get through hardships.)
I saw the last year flash before my eyes as I wrote out the answers to these questions. I’m at a stage in my life and in my writing where the questions no longer pose a threat. I had already come to face these answers in the last year. I am now able to admit a great deal without the fear that I might learn something terrible about myself. It has opened my eyes how all together the answers to questions like these tell a much better story about us than anything we have decided to say about ourselves. Our lives are our story and we are each’s main character. Ok— so that last line wasn’t mind-blowing, but stay with me. It’s important that we get down to the nitty-gritty of what’s motivating our character to move about the scenes. What is taking us from point A to B, how does our past weigh in on how we get there and lastly, where do we want to go?
There is so much going on and the story plays out best when our character is activity participating in it. Your character (you) will end up being one of two things: the character that just is or the character that you want them to be. That’s who you’ll end up being— the person you just are … by default, without trying OR the person you want to be. It’s up to you. Comforting, I know.
I only included four questions so I could say the following to you— they’re only four questions, if you don’t sit down and at least try, you don’t love yourself and you’re a poop. Please go away.
I’m writing to this because I have learned that you can tell the world whatever you want, but it’s being able to give straight answers to these questions that matter. We’re only afraid of ourselves when we don’t know who we are and that is a bridge we need to cross. Four steps? What do you say?
See you on the other side,