28 January 2011

Developing Character

Bethany's post yesterday got me thinking - how does stress change people? It was the last paragraph, not the whole thing.

In case you were wondering.

That is really the crux of most stories: Something changes, the characters are stressed and start acting in ways that were never anticipated.

I'm very much in the wannabe bucket for writing. My life took a bit of a detour and I landed in Business School instead of Writing School. It's been a detour that I have really appreciated, however. It has added different dimensions to my knowledge of people and their stress reactions. It has shown me how black and white some people view the world (hello, cost accounting) or how flexible it can be in others (what would you like the number to be?).

Yet, I'm okay with the road I'm on. I figure that all of this experience is swimming around in my brain and will lead to a good novel idea that I can turn into great.

But in the mean time, I'm developing the ability to think like others, instead of myself. So while my stress reaction is to jot notes, write lists and not deviate from The Plan, I've discovered that others react by ignoring the tasks, blowing off deadlines or blaming others for their failures.

Sounds simple, but it's an important piece of developing your characters.

And while it makes for a fun and interesting life, in the curse sort of way, it makes the writer in my gleefully tuck that tidbit away into a corner to brew and see what comes out.

How have you developed character today?

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