INSPIRED…BY ORDINARY PEOPLE
We can’t run away from it! We’re all PEOPLE lumped into that collective definition of “persons in general…human beings as distinguished from animals or other beings.” However, from my writer’s perspective, it is our job to narrow that classification to one specific main character and tell their story—whether it is in the form of essay, poetry, mystery, historical fiction or any other genre. Writers are the telescope through which the world can see “people” as individuals.
Not long ago, I worked with a writer who needed to tell the story of her son. She knew that giving his life-story to the reading world would save lives—even though her son had made the decision to end his life before discovering the potentials within all his tomorrows. As you can imagine, this author’s personal pain kept her from progressing past the outline stages, and so it was that we met—long distance—writer and ghostwriter working in tandem to tell this young man’s story.
With over 500 pages of material—letters, medical reports, court documents, etc.—my initial challenge was to find the person on those pages. The world-view of “people” may be what is seen in data files or paper reports. But the real person is much, much more than that. If (or when) you write a story about a person who is alive today, has recently passed, or is a part of history, here are several ways to discover who they are…
DO YOUR RESEARCH: Yes, “the facts” are important and must be known whether you use them all—or not. Date of birth (and death); place of birth and all the places they lived; family members and associates; education; memberships in organizations; work history; etc.
DEVELOP A LIFE-LINE and/or timeline of the person’s life. This will begin to give you a picture of that individual’s life experiences. His/her encounters with this world offer many useful insights as well as physical sets upon their stage.
- Talk with as many family members, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, spiritual mentors, etc., as possible. Their view of the person you’re writing about will have similarities, of course, but it is the differences that you’ll want to specifically record and highlight.
Did you know that in the neuroscience fields of study there are now more than 640 concepts (words) describing our psychological personalities? From the earliest days of human history—Plato and Aristotle—people have been speculating on the workings of the mind and how environments (other people, places and things) effect the way we live. As a writer and developer of “characters” (both real and fictional) I suggest that you collect several pieces of cutting edge information on the brain and how it functions such as books by Dr. Caroline Leaf (Switch on Your Brain) and theories on psychological types such as The Myers-Briggs Personality Inventory. Once an author knows the basics—differences between the analytical, strategic thinker and the charismatic, inspirational leader, etc.—multiple layers of personality nuisances can be added to your character(s) to bring living breathing individuals to the pages of your books.
Bottom line…whether you’re collaborating with a friend who needs help with their story or you’re writing the new Best-of-the-Best novel yourself, don’t ever stop writing. GET IT WRITTEN and GET IT PUBLISHED!
|ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene Doyle is a Ghostwriter with Outskirts Press, bringing more than 35 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their writing projects. She has worked with both experienced and fledgling writers helping complete projects in multiple genres. When a writer brings the passion they have for their work and combines it with Royalene’s passion to see the finished project in print, books are published and the writer’s legacy is passed forward.|