So… here’s the #1 problem with my new resolution to keep up with this blog… I never know what to blog about. It’s an annoying fact that whenever I want to say something, I can’t think of anything to say. Such is expressed through a character of mine, one of my favorites: her name is Katrielle Paige Imberman. She often complains of the way her words “fall out the hole in her head.” I’m sure everybody knows what that’s like, but it seems to happen more often to me (and Kat) than to most people. Maybe that’s just my self-centered view of things.
At any rate, now I have two possible subjects to blog about! It just takes a little rambling to get there, I suppose. I hope nobody minds if I start out most of my posts with rambling to find a subject. Maybe someday I’ll actually write something useful.
…anyway. Should I talk about characters and their similarities to their authors, or the human tendency to put oneself at the center of everything? Characters sound more interesting. I think we all know humans are dreadfully selfish creatures. This fact does permeate everything we do, including making characters, so perhaps this can lead into the rather hazy point I’m heading towards….
See, something I’ve been thinking about lately is the way we, as authors, put ourselves into our characters. Some people base their characters entirely off themselves. They put themselves into the story, as the hero, which can have all kinds of bad results, most of which stem from the way you view yourself. If you hate yourself, then you’re going to end up punishing your character far beyond what he deserves. If you love yourself, things will be much too easy for said character. See what I mean? I’m not saying it’s always wrong to base your characters entirely off yourself, because there’s an exception to everything, but generally it isn’t such a good idea.
Then there’s the authors who refuse to base characters off themselves even slightly. This used to be me. I thought it was all wrong to give my characters traits from myself, so I wouldn’t do it. On the one hand, this can eliminate the problems mentioned above. But on the other hand, writing someone who is totally different from you, to whom you really can’t relate, is not easy. You have to have a lot of skill to write a character that way and have them seem real.
And then there’s the in-between sort of authors, which are probably most authors. They take bits and pieces of themselves and other people, add in some stuff they came up with on their own, and mix it all into one character. This makes for, in my opinion, the most complex, the most real, the most living characters. I said that I used to be an author who doesn’t put any of himself into his characters. What changed this is that I started to realize that in my most alive characters, I had inadvertently placed some of my own traits–my own flaws. This was something of a revelation to me, and I began to explore further. Now, I put bits of myself into my characters increasingly often. It’s really very interesting how they can share some of my base traits, and yet be so completely different from me.
So… that’s my thoughts on the matter for now… yes, I rambled. I’ll try to be a little more organized in the next post. Good morrow!