Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Embrace your Inner Weird
Or ... when writing characters, be honest, even if it hurts.
Ok, we writers, like all creative people, are a bit weird, always watching, listening and trying to make sense of the world and why people do things.
But I have a sneaking suspicion that everyone else is just pretending to be normal, so they can pass.
Think of the gardening shows, where presenters run their hands through mulch and wax lyrical about the joys of compost.
Think of all those clips on U-Tube of peoples' cats and dogs doing cute things. You realise those people are following their animals around with a digital camera just waiting for them to do something. That's weird.
Think of the dentist who loved Star Trek so much he built his dental surgery like the bridge of the USS Enterprise and made all his nurses wear the 1960s uniform.
Think of the collectors who search for things like match boxes, old dress patterns and radios. Some of them even build sheds, or add rooms to house their collections.
Think of the times you did things that embarrassed you and you put your foot in it. Think of the times you did the right thing by accident, more than by design. Think of the less than wonderful moments when you fought down a craven impuslse to cry, this is all too much. Then you got up and kept going because you had to.
Now look at your characters? Are they too 'straight'? Do they need more quirks, more failings, more doubts?
Who did you like Mickey Mouse or the irrascable, Donald Duck? In Australia we prefered Donald, he had faults. We could identify with him.
So, embrace your Inner Weird. There's a little bit of 'weird' in everyone.
Are there characters in books or films that stayed with you because they were flawed? Are you a Mickey Mouse or a Donald Duck person?