Well here we are at week 284.
Diane’s answer to the first of Leila’s questions on the Re-Run got me thinking.
How much do we understand our characters?
Do we understand them completely or do we only understand them in the scenario that we’ve put them in?
There’s a difference between us telling what happens and truly knowing.
Let’s take a serial killer for example. We can write the surprising back story of abusive father, overbearing mother and their curiosity with shagging dead beasties, but can we understand that completely. Well, hopefully not. We are just regurgitating what we know and have already been told. Now whether this is from research of killers or experts opinions, it doesn’t matter, it’s still not coming from us.
Don’t you just love ‘experts’? They are wheeled out and interviewed about every disaster under the sun and rarely say anything other than the obvious. But because they have a Doctorate, stating that the lava will destroy all in it’s path is some sort of revelation that we should be in awe of and thankful for.
Everytime you hear them speak you know that it’s a ‘No shit Sherlock’ moment.
…Overpaying for stating the obvious should be a hanging offence to both participants.
I blame the ‘B’ movies of the fifties. There was always an expert who saved the day and they were normally a bespectacled fud. They were always the supporting actor, they were never the big bawed hero who got the girl…Or would have if they weren’t as camp as tits.
I think to truly understand your character, you need to incorporate your own thinking into their situation. But few can do this whole-heartedly as, let’s be honest, some of the situations we come up with are pretty distasteful. Who the fuck would want to be ravished by a green eyed Adonis with a trunk like emm torso?
Again, we need to expose ourselves to get a realistic feeling.
Now depending on what type of closet personality disorder you have, (Yep, we’ve all got at least one!) using that is where we can get realism. Tap into those mind-sets and play them out within your plot. Your character is still just that, your plot is what you’ve made up but there is a truth to some of the thinking.
Subconsciously the reader latches onto this and it lifts the story for them.
I don’t think I do this consciously. But my point is, when I am prodded by the likes of our lovely Leila and asked about a character, I find it easy to analyse them.
Is my understanding of the character only after the fact? Do I know why they thought the way that they did?
…Or is there more of me in there and I’m simply relating my input and thinking more than the characters?
But as I said, admitting that you have exposed yourself within something distasteful, is difficult to accept even if you have realised.
Knowing what someone is thinking is an arrogant assumption, whether they be character or real. Knowing what you have been unconsciously thinking can be prised to the surface.
So if you want to become more than a bespectacled fud, analyse yourself and be truthful about your work – Embrace the multiple personalities that your writing brain taps into. Join with them willingly. Write some interesting sick as fuck characters and realise that part of them is all you!
Don’t be afraid to let your imagination on your inner pervert run free. You are never able to do this in reality.
…Unless you are a British Prince with money, means and people to clean up after you.
Okay onto this weeks stories.
We had two new folks, two old friends and me.
Our topics this week included a tribute, a duty of care, partners, being attended to and a readers choice.
As always our initial comments follow.
First up was the awe inspiring Tom Sheehan.
The quality and quantity of his work is showcased within his back catalogue of well over one hundred stories. I’ll really need to asterisk his hundredth, it will make it easier to count come his two hundredth!
‘The Duke’s Black Bag‘ was published on Monday.
‘This flowed effortlessly. You were carried away with it.’
‘I can’t find any negatives in this.’
‘The Best compliment I can give is this is of Tom’s usual standard!’
I was next up with ‘Gary Glitter And The Camel Hair Coat.’
As always I thank Nik and Diane for all their help and encouragement.
I actually wish I had referenced ‘Always Yours.’
No writing reason – I just like it.
On Wednesday we had the first of our newbies.
We welcome both of them, hope that they have fun on the site and most importantly, we want to see more of their work.
Dave Gwyn broke the back of the week with ‘Invasive‘.
‘I enjoyed the unpleasantness of this. It emphasised the job he was doing.’
‘When you think on it, the story did raise some interesting points.’
‘It can be so much fun reading such a horrible human being.
We had another very strong writer with an amazing back catalogue published on Thursday.
Marco Etheridge was next up with ‘The Stillness Of A Garden Broken.’
‘I’ve seen a few films with alternative endings but never read it in a short – Very interesting!’
‘Clear, concise writing.’
‘How this was presented and structured was brilliant.’
And on Friday we had our last new writer.
We extend the same welcome to Rich Leise.
We finished off the week with ‘Air Guitar Eddy‘
‘The omission at the end was genius!!’
‘Sad and sordid but a cracking story!’
‘A lot of fun and brilliantly thought out.’
Well that’s us for another week.
You know what’s coming next.
Fuck it, I’m playing hard to get with Miss Anderson.
Comments – Good!
No saying anything – Bad!
Re-Run – That’s for anyone who wants a go. If you want to know what it is, look back to any other Saturday’s posting or read the brilliant ones already done on any past Sunday.
Just to finish off.
I’ve realised that I treat the ladies on the site slightly different than the males and I think I should explain myself.
I normally finish off any correspondence with the *male writers we have with:
All the very best my friend.
I don’t do the same with the *ladies, I normally leave it with:
All the very best.
I do not do this for any other reason than not wanting to be presumptuous.
The thought of this made me laugh as I remember many years ago being presumptuous when talking to a lady.
Now, with the brilliant story that Marco had published this week, I’m inspired to leave you with two last lines, feel free which one you want to go with.
Last Line 1 –
How naive I was in those days, I presumed that they would answer me and not laugh.
Last Line 2 –
How naive I was in those days – You truly do get what you pay for.
Now that I’ve read them out to myself I realise that neither of them make me look good. It’s just as well I avoid the autobiographical!!
*If anyone has any issues with me using these gender terms when I’m simply making a point I should apologise.
I should but I won’t – Fuck off and advise someone who gives a shit on what you are identifying as this weekend!
Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay
4 thoughts on “Week 284 – Diane, Leila And Marco Inspiration, Embracing Your Nasty And Embracing Your Own Nasty And Not Talking About It Saves A Few Quid.”
How naive I was in those days,–Unaware of that the fiftyfirst shade of gray had something to do with Hugh’s best.
All my fictional characters are expert in some useless field. They have to be because I like to write useless things.
Anyway, this is a top shelf post.
All…um… Diane’s best to you and something a bit shoddy but still affectionate in its own little way from me.
Thanks as always for your comments.
I was thinking of writing my version of ‘Fifty Shades…’ but it would be ‘Fifty Shades Of Pish’.
This would cover everything from the dark dehydrated years to the brown-red of fucked kidneys. For the perverted audience it could come with ‘Scratch-a-smell’
That sounds like a happy page turner for all the family.
To answer Hugh’s question about characters, I find I need to flip the question on its head: How much do my characters understand ME? Weird way to look at it perhaps, but that’s closer to the way I interact with my characters. I am able to use the example of writing about a Serial Killer. I wrote a story titled “The Wrong Name,” a first-person piece about a vile serial killer. The story was published in a horror anthology, and it was truly horrible. It took a good bit of time to get inside the characters head, and I DID get inside his head. Once I there, I found I really did not like it (or him) at all. The hardest work was not writing the story. Once that bastard got his claws into me, the story wrote itself, or rather, he wrote the damn thing. No, the hardest past was getting myself out of his head, and he out of mine. Not nice at all, Precious.
A second answer is this: The more the character is NOT an amalgam of me, the more that character takes on a life of his or her own. This may mean I need serious psychological help, an idea which has some merit, but that’s just the way it is. Understanding my characters is a thing that happens as they take form. Once that form is accomplished, it is they who take the reins. The character will (literally, ha!) tell me: “Hey, I wouldn’t do that, Bub. Why don’t you let me steer this boat.”
The answers to the character question are going to be different for everyone, of course. This is just how it works for me.
Thanks so much for that.
I enjoy reading about how writers go about their story-telling. As you say, everyone is different.
Well, they should be. Common traits should be no more than a coincidence. (Hah! Back to the question on what can be / should be taught!!!)
I was really interested on your views about the character understanding you and how you felt when you got into the serial killers head. I’ll need to think on how deep I go. I honestly don’t think I have that skill, it is more of an observational / voyeuristic understanding I have of them. I think I see what they show me and understand from there.
It really is a fascinating subject and everyone who analises and is willing to say gives others something else to consider.
The more you look into the process you realise that there is no right, no wrong and plenty of off-shoots!
Great to see you around the site my friend.