Thoughts from the pen on characterisation

Trials & Tribulations of Writing etc.


   Research and characterisation is hard to do, thank God for the net and coffee houses, it requires just the right elements to conspire together before a new character is given birth. I have found that the invisibility of sitting on a café front, drinking coffee, can be an amazing tool, though not with a lap-top as ‘someone these days’ is bound to grab it and leg it, a touch of pessimism perhaps, I would like to think so. Not because of what you see passing you by, which can be quite stimulating in the extreme, in some cases, but also to me at least, the thought of being invisible, whilst sitting in a large powered wheelchair watching the crowds shopping and the world at large filter bye is interesting and says a lot about society at large on occasions.

   A friend insists that people generally don’t see past the end of their nose, I think I might have to agree with them, where as authors see far too much and in far too much detail for their own good, much as do comedians apparently. Though most of what they view is absorbed and then locked away in the mind, in that section of the giant filing cabinet labelled ‘future characters’ and usable events. So now you know just one of the ways characters are formed.  

   So the next time you walk past a café or similar, wandering aimlessly from shop to shop wondering if you really need that latest wot-zit. Consider that you might be helping to create the perfect character for a book or story, or just providing an idea to fill up the cavernous storage space most writers & comedians create and keep just for new ideas no matter how nuts they might be.

    Let me give you a simple example, for three years, twice a week a Chinese student walked past, never wearing the same outfit twice. During that time she passed through various stages of clothing, from jeans and a top to a little bo-peep outfit complete with crook and blond curly hair, none of which fitted in with her surroundings, but perfectly represented her self image or so I presume. She always looked quite content with the attention she attracted, and to this day I still have not found her style quite right to dress a character in, but I live in hope. She also brightened up the dreariest of days with her range; sadly she must have received her degree because she has not been seen for months. The world is a less colourful spectacle for her loss and whoever she is, many thanks.

   There is of course ‘the sights you see when you have not got your gun,’ these in their own way add immensely to the contained character images. Though mostly they will be the less liked or make for the perfect anti-hero represented by daily life, just waiting to be painted brightly into words and fiction. Still there is a place for all and all have a reason to be in that place, if only in their own mind, ie: to exist. Mother Nature is never overly discerning, only efficient in her creation.

                                            May your God (s) go with you.

                                                                                              David Stevens


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