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I've been doing a lot of people watching lately. I saw a band play with three newish members on Friday night. It was interesting to watch them interact; the stage was almost divided between new and old by the way they looked at each other. That's natural, I suppose, that newbies cling together. It gave me an idea for the book I'm mulling over right now.

It also got me thinking how to show why characters do the things they do. I love many of my friends dearly, but let's be brutally honest for a minute: most people are and always have been absurdly focused on self. It doesn't mean they don't care about other people, but mostly Self drives every action and everything they say. And the only real way to get at the essence of what drives them is from those actions and dialogue. (Sound familiar?) I think it's like a puzzle, sometimes, yeah? Trying to pick apart their actions to see what motivates them. But when you start to listen, to really listen, and think, you start to unravel those mysteries quickly. I think real people are little more than the sum of their motivations, fears, and hopes, and most people don't hide them very well.

Ditto with characters.

In SCAR, which I hope to return to and wrap up this week in a rough form (ambitious plans) I have 4 POVs. I've realized the first major edit will be a close revision - bringing the characters' dialogue and action close to themselves.  Every word, every gesture, should be imbued with self: with their motivation, with their focus and view of the world. (Which, granted, might be sometimes trying to hide their motivations or to express denial, like Trinidad.) It felt a bit scary until I realized likely they already are themselves; I just need to pick apart the puzzle and make them more. Just like in real life. 

2 comments:

Bach said...

That was the nice thing about writing from a teenager's POV for my novel-everything about a teenager is steeped in self! Having a 10 year old preteen helped me embrace it. We are always taught what a negative it is to be overly self-involved, yet it is the nature of being human.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Well, there's something to be said for survival, right? That focus is there for a good reason...