Thursday, March 09, 2006

Delving Deeper

Unraveling The Web

That’s right, after so long I’ve finally churned one out. It’s a bit off the wall, but hey, it’s better than nothing right?

Times have changed, people have changed, but the ideals have stayed the same. Perhaps this is why writing can be so tough at times; it’s been done before and you just keep on getting inspiration from the Hall of Clich├ęs. But then again, isn’t it human nature to emulate what he knows and is familiar with? Such is the reason that personal traits of the author always seem to seep through to a character in their writings. No matter how hard a writer tries, their innermost feelings and deep desires may slip into the framework at any given point.

Sometimes, you will find a character in a story that is a complete opposite from the writer’s own persona, but even then traits about the author can still be just as easily discerned. When reading a piece of work I like to try and dig into the writer’s brain. I want to feel what they felt, see how they saw, and think what they thought. Such is the method I use when wading through the millions of pieces of literature and finding one I actually like. It helps me to understand perspectives of other authors about their writing, characters, and storylines.

Here is an example of how I decipher a personality trait in an author; after getting a good idea of who the characters are and the general story of the book I can get to work breaking down each individual character. With each description and action throughout the carefully spun tale I file away notes about traits, thoughts, and feelings I think may be important to piecing the puzzle together later on. More often than not I find characters overlapping into the same feelings or views of the world shaped around them. This is where the puzzle begins to take shape; by taking into account the most overlaps I can theorize about what the author was trying to portray; unconsciously or not. Say a set of characters has a certain ideal involving an event in the story, you can then guess that either the author intended for this to occur or his own morals slipped silently into each of these characters.

In my own experience I have to look deeper into what kind of affect this standpoint has on the story. Do this character’s feelings contribute to how the storyline unfolds, or is it just a description that the author gave us to give a better idea of where that character stands?

More than likely the main character is going to be who the author is based off of or at least who he wants to be. In most writing the secondary characters carry traits of friends the author knows on a more intimate basis; maybe even an annoying habit of a family member he has. The side characters might be based off of acquaintances, co-workers, or other people not affecting the writer’s life in any significant way.

However, there are always exceptions to this viewpoint. A phenomenal writer is sometimes able to create a character meshed so well with a myriad of facts and details that they seem completely unique, but a writer does have to get his ideas from somewhere…


You may be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with my writing?” Well, I’ll tell you; this gives you a bit more insight to how some of your readers may view your work, thus letting you understand how to improve.

All in all, this is just a perspective from a single reader and writer. Some people have other means of dissecting your work; your job is just to figure out how to please them all.