Now that you are caught up, let’s continue.
We’ve brought the characters to live after lifting them out of the realm of just a piece of paper with a bunch of boxes checked, dots filled in, and numbers scribbled down. We’ve blended the pieces together to provide a frame for your character to fill. You’ve carefully crafted the setting and world for the character to interact with, and now comes the last part.
Some would say this is the easiest, some would disagree with that idea.
Now it’s time to move them through their life. I’ve touched on this briefly in the earlier posts, but that was focused specifically on their growth in skills and aptitudes. Now, it’s time to consider the rest of their mentality.
Think back to when you were a child. What did you want? Was it the same thing as what you want now? I’m willing to bet it wasn’t. And, your characters should follow the same type of patterns. It doesn’t have to be the wild swings of likes such as young children have, or the wild mood swings like a pubescent adolescent has (unless, of course, your character IS a child or an adolescent.) But, there has to be some kind of change. It can be for the better… or worse… depending on where you are in the story itself.
To make these changes plausible, you will need to haul out that handy character sheet you have been keeping up with for this series. Look through the merit and flaws section of your sheet. This is where most of your personality changes are going to come from. The emphasis is going to shift through your lists, and it’s fine now if the balance between the two see-saws back and forth with more merits than flaws or more flaws then merits come out. How your character handles these issues will show their growth.
Since I haven’t had any takers for my little challenge, I’m going to reuse it, and see if you can follow along with what I’ve done.
“Joe strode down the street in his well fitted jeans that molded to his runner’s legs. The wind pressed his button down shirt against his surprisingly large spare tire as he brushed back a stray strand of well-cut wavy brown hair out of his hazel eyes. He sighed in remorse at the hard concrete he walked over every day, his eyes traced the path his feet were following along the pavement hoping to see some sign that Nature hadn’t been totally eradicated in this cursed city. Several of the people in the crowds called his name in joyful recognition, but he failed to hear them because of his boss’ last words echoing in his mind. ‘Son, I don’t understand how someone as graceful as you are could be so clumsy. That display you knocked over this afternoon is irreplaceable. Either find a way to fix it, or you’re fired.’
He scrambled through his thoughts, trying to figure out just how it was he had tripped into that display. The floor had been smooth, nothing to catch his foot, and no loose cords had been laying out. It seemed that every since he had gone to work for the manufacturer, his luck had just run out. Maybe his dad had been wrong about him. Maybe he was just meant to be a failure his whole life. Especially now. His roommates were deadbeats, which left him to pay for the bills on his own. But, how could he fix that display and pay the rent both? His mind worried about how he was going to keep the despised job so he could continue to pay the month’s rent. Rent he felt he shouldn’t have to pay. This small bungalow was all that was left from his mother’s estate. Supposedly left to him from the pittance she earned working in the same job he held now. He just hoped that one day he could finally discover why she had left for work one day, and never came home.”
The merits/flaws I selected were: overconfident (f), concentration (m/f), eidetic memory (m), bad sight (f), and bard’s tongue (f). So, expanding on the above scenario, let’s bring this post to a close.
“Joe realized as he approached the door to his home that he still had several avenues to explore. He’d over heard some of the janitors talking about having to wax a section of floor, but he hadn’t noticed them pointing at anything. Perhaps he could talk to them, and see if they knew about that corner being tacky. Maybe it hadn’t been him after all. And, everyone knew he always claimed to have someone out for his hide. If he didn’t, then he wouldn’t have lost his mother with all the questions left unresolved.
The next day, after he arrived, but before he clocked in, he spoke with the men who ran the overnight buffing efforts. All of them laughed at his broken Spanish, but it did get them talking. He understood much more than he could speak, and their words were the keys he needed to solve this riddle. Where ever that display had come from, it had not come from one of the regular delivery trucks. None of the janitors remembered helping to unload it. In fact, none could remember anything about it, until it had toppled over and shattered into a myriad of pieces from Joe’s accident.
The hand that clamped down on his shoulder startled him, and when he squinted over his shoulder to determine who had approached, Joe was surprised to see the well dressed stranger glaring down at him.
‘Son, I wouldn’t worry about that display. I would worry about your mother. She is in more danger now than you can imagine.’ The hand let go, and the man just vanished.
Joe whipped around to stare in disbelief at the empty hall, but the janitor’s words echoed through his head. Words that had been spoken while he had been distracted, ‘Maybe Diablo put it there to hurt me.’
Oh, no. No, no, no! Joe thought to himself, as he thought back to the trek that had led him to this place and time. The trek that had started with such a simple sentence so long ago. ‘May the devil bar my path to success!’ He had said it in anger to his father just before the man had died. Now, it seemed as if that sentence was coming back to haunt him. Now the Devil had indeed come to redeem that promise.”
I hope this series has helped you climb into your character’s heads a little better, and given you some tools to give life to your own creations.
Happy writing everyone!