Posted by Autumn Jordon Sep 20 2012, 12:01 am in Autumn Jordon, characterization, craft, golden heart, inspiration, Movitation, muse, Point Of View, Seasonings, Seasons, writer's advice, writer's journey, writer's life, writing romance, writing tips, writing tools
If you’re thinking this blog is about setting, you’re totally wrong. Maybe I should’ve changed the title so you wouldn’t have thought so, but after I started brainstorming ideas for a blog it actually fit.
My original idea was to write about two lessons I learned many years ago from my creative writing professor which, yes, would’ve pertained to setting, but then two of my Ruby sisters had also mentioned on our private loop that they planned blogs about the subject. Although I knew we’d approach the subject matter from different angles, I kind of figured our readers would say enough already. So I’ll save my thoughts on setting for another time.
Anyway, going back to my creative writing classes— since I know you’re all dying to know what they were—the first one was free writing. We all know what that is, right? You just write whatever comes to mind without stopping for a length of time and the writing doesn’t need to follow rhythm or reason. It’s a way of freeing your muse. Thinking about that lesson helped me put a twist on the second lecture, which was setting sense and had to do with experiencing your world, and ‘Wala’ I think I came up with unique tutorial for our awesome followers.
When we think of seasons we contemplate visions of spring, summer, autumn and winter and all the elements that make them unique. But for today, we’re going to think of seasons in term of our character’s lives. (Now, I have Paul Anka singing ‘The Times Of Your Life’ strumming through my head. Here. I’ll share the link to the song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qBqRXl1ku1o)
Okay. Focus on the topic, AJ. I didn’t have this problem a decade ago. Keep that in mind as you read on.
People in different seasons of their lives have very different points of view on just about everything. I know I think differently than my children on many topics, including viewing their texting to friends while talking to me as multitasking. I also have a different point of view than my parents on many subjects. We’ve all heard the term generation gap.
However, age is not the only factor that determines our mind set. My views are not always agreed upon by friends who are my age. Everyone’s POV has been shaped by many dynamics such as; their racial background, their educational level, the region in which they live, their talents, their experiences with others (job or social networking), past and present world events, handling health issues, religion, and their relationships with family members, to name a few. To make characters really come to life we need to know which forces molded them—back story.
A woman of ninety who has been totally blessed all her life is going to look at death differently than a girl of sixteen. And a girl of sixteen who has been blessed will face death differently than a girl whose life has abused by her father over and over and over.
A man who has a family who depends on him to support them is going to go into a job interview with a different mindset than a man who has no one but himself to worry about. And a woman is going to have a totally different mentality.
Two homeless families will have a different outlook on their future because of their relationship with each other and their faith in God.
Two men hear gunfire. One is a hunter. The other is a vet who has seen the worse side of humanity. Each will react differently to the discharge.
A person who has never had a new car is going to feel differently about their new Chevy Caviler than the person who buys a new Porsche every year.
Those are simply examples, but I think you get my drift. Just for fun let’s twist one.
A person who has never had a new car is going to feel differently about their new Chevy Caviler than the person who buys a new Porsche every year. As written you would assume the man with the Caviler would be more upset with a fender bender than the man who buys a Porsche. But what if the guy with the Caviler has forever had fender benders and has a buddy who always helps him to repairs his cars and the man buys a Porsche every year but he does it for his boss, who is now going fire him because of the accident.
Every aspect of a character’s life is going to affect their actions and reactions to conflict. Their POV is also governed by their back story. A person whose family always communicated and talked differences out will probably handle disagreements in the same manner, but a person who was raised in an unsettling atmosphere might react violently.
I remember cleaning for my grandmother and finding dozens of pieces if cardboard in the shape of maybe six inch ruler. Each had many different colored threads spooned around them. The threads were extras or came off of clothing that had been undone. She also kept sheets of used aluminum foil of all different sizes in a box. They were to be reused. My grandmother lived through the great depression.
Each season of life as well as how much we have been seasoned influences our POV and fuels our motivation. So it should be for our character.