I knew that studying character and character development would assist with the creation of three dimensional people in my fictional worlds. What surprised me was how understanding fictional characters’ goals, motivations, conflicts, fatal flaws, and so on helped me gain a deeper insight into living, breathing individuals: co-workers, friends, family, other parents on the playground. Real people.
Let me give two examples of writing lessons and how they have assisted me beyond my writing.
During an online class on the differences between males and females, the instructor explained that most men have poor peripheral vision and can focus on something to the exclusion of everything else. There was a discussion on evolution, men being hunters, women being caretakers and how the differences aided those separate roles.
After I finished reading the lesson, I went in search of my husband. I asked him follow me into the office to read an interesting lesson. He rose from his easy chair, stepped over the pile of newspapers at his feet and followed me to the back bedroom. When he finished, he raised his eyebrow. I explained that I now understood that he truly did not see the pile of newspapers that he’d just stepped over. I promised that I would not complain about such future oversights, if he would not feel I was nagging him when I pointed out a previously unseen mess. Mutual understanding was reach and a more collaborative partnership was created because of a writing lesson.
In a workshop on secondary characters, I learned that every character, even the villain, is the hero of his or her story, even if not the Hero of the current story being written and that secondary characters’ actions are motivated by that viewpoint.
So all of the villains in my life: my girlfriends’ ex-husbands, the backstabbing co-workers, the erratic drivers during my commute, all are the heroes of their own stories and view their actions as justified. My outrage is a waste of time and energy. Therefore, unless it is a life threatening or job threatening situation, I have learned to shake my head and go on with me life.
Have any writing lessons helped you in your day to day life or your own person relationships?