A guest post by Art Holcomb
“The beautiful thing about a mosaic is that it is best when made up of the broken fragments of once whole things.”
Your characters are very much like thatWhether we want admit it or not, each of our characters is such a mosaic, made up of those conscious pieces we assemble and those unconscious fragments that we bring to the work. And how could it be anything else? We are always the real source of all the tools and raw materials for our stories. We bring each character to our stories like a comet, seeing only the fiery tail, but knowing that it is the unseen – the fireball of our imagination and experiences – that is the real cause of that streak in the sky.
But how do we access that? How can we really get in touch with what we believe? How can we come to know ourselves?
One way is to look at our writings for quotes from our characters. Their words are our words too, especially when they seem to disagree with who we think we are, or when they say something unwittingly profound.
If we believe that someday people will be quoting lines from our own works, why not beat them to it, and see what you can learn about yourself.
Let me serve as an example: In preparing this post, I combed through my personal writing for quotes by my characters that, while seeming natural when I wrote them, now seem to reveal something new about how I might actually feel.
Here are a couple of examples:
From F8 – A Shade Story:
“Circumstances are revealed in the crime; character, in the cover-up.”
“The defining moments in the history of Mankind lie not in what a person CAN do, but in what a person Will or Will Not do.”
“A slap is just a very fast, very hard caress.”
From A Siren of Turbine
“Life is collaboration with victims.
“Beneath every desert, at some reachable depth, lies a spring.”
“Your wounds are like the knives you carry. There’s the one that you’ll show them, the one that you’ll let them find and the one they’ll never know you have.”
From Perfecting Your Premise:
“There has to be a High Country in every story where the derring-do is done.”
“Plot only matters when it is the means to transformation.”“Every character has that one core value – that one unshakable belief – that is their impediment to growth.” - – – – Through this second look, I found deeper meaning in these quotes than what they meant for the story. Why not pull some out of your own writing and give them a second look. And feel free to share them with us here through the Comment section.
You might just learn something new.
Art Holcomb is a screenwriter and comic book creator. His new writing book is entitled RE-BOOT YOUR STORY: How to Resurrect Your Abandoned Story and Get It Written NOW!