CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT III—Author’s perspective
Writer’s must turn on their Left-Brain, Logical Decision-Making, abilities when developing all aspects of their novel: Plot (actions/events), Setting (environment/atmosphere), Characters (all the lovely—and not so lovely—people). As the focus this month is building the characters in your work, the aptitude of each individual’s decision-making pattern—or process—is of key importance. No, we don’t need to be professors of psychology. However, scientific studies on the topic of human thinking, and logic in relation to decisions have provided an excellent conclusion for our benefit: Decisions are 90% emotionally based! So no matter how logical one (or more) of your characters “think” they are, writers have the pleasure of incorporating their own combined Left-Brain/Right-Brain abilities to bring readers very identifiable people. ALL of the successful writers I’ve enjoyed reading and have personally met have this skill on an almost intuitive level. So relax. Many of the following point will read like a list you could have created.
- Decision-making is basically problem-solving. The Plot outline of your project will give you a list of problems and/or obstacles that your characters must resolve. Make a “Decisions” file/page for each character and list each of these problems in a column on the left. Then, on the right side, give their response.
- Consider the Pattern or Process of each character. Do they make instant decision without much (or any) thought? Or do they diagnose the problem in great detail?
- Is the character an information gatherer? This character might be addicted to “working” those 5,000-piece puzzles. They desperately seek every bit of data they can
- Think about Information Overload. What happens to the thinking process when too much data is available? Does your character shut down—forcing a decision to be made without specific involvement on their part? Do they quickly assess alternative solutions—ranking them in feasibility order—before having all the facts?
- Is there an Over-Reaction to peer pressure? Some problem-solvers focus so intently on the vision or goals of individual people they work with that they totally miss the higher purpose for which their business, community, or group was established. That is when solutions become a paradox that leads to confusion. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because writers can utilize this confusion in a wide variety of action/events that move the plot toward a satisfying conclusion.
Today, in social and psychological circles, writers (and many other artistic/creative folks) are being studied for their abilities to write utilizing both the left brain and right brain cognitive functions. The hypothesis is that by stretching our imaginations in creating complex characters of various habits, beliefs, education, etc., we are building “bridges” between the left side and right side of our brains. This blends the unique skill sets of left/right brains and makes it easier for the individual to think better and make better decisions. I’d very much like to believe that. One of my close friends considers himself to be a very “left brain” person— a logical, analytical, linear thinker. However, he also happens to be an excellent writer who creates scenes in vivid and emotionally-dramatic technicolor. It is interesting and even fun to speculate on these concepts. Yet I remain a believer in the uniqueness of each individual who comes into this world with a “gift-mix” all their own.
May your mix of writing skills and abilities continue to grow and bring great enjoyment to you and the reading world! Complete that project! Get it published TODAY! ⚓︎
|ABOUT ROYALENE DOYLE: Royalene has been writing something since before kindergarten days and continues to love the process. Through her small business—DOYLE WRITING SERVICES—she brings more than 40 years of writing experience to authors who need “just a little assistance” with completing their projects. This is a nice fit as she develops these blogs for Outskirts Press (OP) a leading self-publisher, and occasionally accepts a ghostwriting project from one of their clients. Her recent book release (with OP) titled FIREPROOF PROVERBS, A Writer’s Study of Words, is already receiving excellent reviews including several professional writer’s endorsements given on the book’s back cover.
Royalene’s writing experience grew through a wide variety of positions from Office Manager and Administrative Assistant to Teacher of Literature and Advanced Writing courses and editor/writer for an International Christian ministry. Her willingness to listen to struggling authors, learn their goals and expectations and discern their writing voice has brought many manuscripts into the published books arena.