The inner conflict of the characters that we write about, as well as the ones we’ve read about in some of our favorite books, can make or break the overall feel of a piece of fiction. When it comes to writing and reading about the working mind of characters it seems, too jumbled and we feel lost, too simplistic and we end up not caring. We, as writers, must push to develop characters that are real, broken and loveable, scarred and charismatic. We must work to create people in our work that others would and could relate to, characters that speak to the masses on a myriad of levels for everyone is different and all of us carry some form of inner turmoil just below the surface.
As we travel the roads this month focusing on Mental March, we’re stopping at a little place called, “Within”, and taking in the sights. In your favorite books, as well as the ones you’re writing or have written, what was the driving force of your main characters? Did they suffer from an illness, a phobia, a conflict that would hinder them from continuing their journey that needed to be overcome, dramatized, or countered? It doesn’t matter if they are set in 1942 or streaking to other planets aboard a spaceship shaped like a banana, what was inside their heads? Writers need to step out of their own safety zones and focus on the inner workings of their characters, for the more real they become, the more readers tend to gravitate towards them.
In the realm of psychology, the human condition, and our own driving forces, there are hundreds of factors pushing us in one direction or another. By focusing on the human aspect of our characters, we can generate a sense of what it’s like living in their shoes and bring them into our world for inspection. Each character does not need some conflict to make them real, however, but each should at least differ from the others in our created fiction work. Could you imagine reading a book where all the characters are exactly alike and no one has a single mental thought that differs?
When it comes to issues of the mind and inner conflict, one does not need to develop a character that expertly details every classification code listed in the DSM-IV to make them real, but having some inner turmoil is key to developing a character that others will enjoy. Think about some of your favorite books and I can almost guarantee the characters there had some mental issue they were struggling with or some inner conflict that spurned them into action, a driving force, a moment of focus. Get into your characters’ heads, it may be a little dark and dusty, but I assure you that deep within you may find them closer to the people you already know that you ever thought possible, maybe even a reflection of you.
These posts will be about showcasing a random picture I find in the hopes of inspiring others to create ideas for their writing. Sometimes I provide the picture and randomly prattle on about something I find interesting, sometimes I do more than my fair share.
I have found that generating a quick 1-3 sentence scenario, a blurb, a scene, or a full novel concept based on a random picture has worked wonders in opening up the floodgates to new ideas and enjoyment in the world of fiction. It is my hope that others will find these images and possibly be inspired to jump into the wild world of writing and become the author they always wanted to be.
Without further ado, our 27th entry!-
Photo Credit-Kylli Sparre