Our personalities, if you really consider them, are both fixed and flexible. We grow, and develop throughout our entire lives, yet we’re always the same person. At our very core we are the same. There are very few reasons for someone to suddenly change personalities and become completely unlike their past self.
Traumatic events such as the loss of a loved one, loss in sense of self or security of self, things like Stockholm Syndrome, amnesia, and multiple personality disorder are all reasons as to why someone would suddenly change their thinking or behavior. You don’t simply wake up different one day. You are taught, coaxed, forced, and persuaded to change. But change isn’t always a negative experience. Some people discover themselves later in life. They come to a realization on a journey, of the body, mind, or soul. People do change, but change is not an easy process.
I am not the same girl I was at sixteen. No, I’ve grown a lot since then. I had to. At sixteen I had many burdens I should have had to carry, and many luxuries I took for granted. With age, I was brought to change, kicking and screaming all the way. No one told me I needed to straighten up, and no one forced me to do so, but I did. Because I had to. Because at some point we all have to. You can’t go through life playing the victim – nor can you do it pretending everything is always sunshine and bubbles. No matter how you try and escape, you can’t run from life. This balance is difficult to find as we all have our own crosses, burdens, struggles and what have you. But then you start to figure it out, and you spend the rest of your life figuring it out.
Your characters are no exception to this. We are all a bit set in our ways and it takes something dynamic (sometimes) to shake things up, but your characters are learning who they are still too. They’re growing and changing, and becoming more real with each word you write. Let them explore themselves and you explore their world.
Who are they, and who do they become? What are their struggles and what will these struggles teach them? How will they be changed? This is what you pass to your reader. This is what you allow them to learn from you.
Next week we’ll go on to talk about names, how they affect your character and the way your reader sees them. Thanks for reading and I’ll see you soon!
Latest posts by Cara Rowen (see all)
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- Crafting Personality Part IV: The Clothes Make The Man - March 19, 2014