Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Making it realistic

Humans are complicated things. I've read a lot of novels or seen movies where I can't relate to the characters because they're either 2-dimensional, or they're just plain selfish. I know this might sound strange, but if you go and watch groups of people and listen in on snippits of conversation, you will definitely get an idea of how complicated and flawed people are.

Last night I went to the movies with my brother, just to get out of the house. We got to the cinema 30 minutes before the session so we decided to sit just outside the cinema. As another session was coming out, my brother got the brilliant idea of asking whoever would listen what they had just seen, and then it moved on to whether they liked the movie.

By striking up conversations with total strangers, it was interesting seeing the reactions (most were of shock or confusion... some even forgot what movie they had just seen).

As writers, isn't it our jobs to try and understand the psyche's of characters? In one of my acting courses I was told that the best way to get into a characters mind is to observe people, because if you don't know how to react naturally to something it will come out as false and unbelievable.

So, do you do anything special to be able to understand your characters better?


Deb Salisbury, Magic Seeker and Mantua-Maker said...

LOL! How funny that some people forgot what movie they'd seen.

To understand my characters better, I remember an experience I've had similar to their current problem. I consider what I did, and how like or unlike my personality is to the character's. Most often they wouldn't react the way I would, so I try to figure out why. The what usually follows.

Christine Fonseca said...

I am a "method" writing, in that I get so engrossed in my characters, it becomes pretty easy to keep it real. The hard part? Letting go of them is the hard part!

Jemi Fraser said...

Totally agree - I've been teaching for years, and I've never run across anyone who wasn't incredibly complicated! I'm still struggling to put all that onto paper - but I'm getting better :)

Windy Aphayrath said...

I once ended up writing what is now a 300K backstory for one of my secondary characters. An exercise I have not repeated, but yet it gave me a lot of insight into the world I was creating and an eventual understanding of the main characters.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's funny some people forget what they'd seen. Probably just shocked someone would want to talk to them!

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