Characterization

frushiansRecently, I heard powerful testimonies from a few people who endured several hardships.  It got me thinking about characterization in fiction.  We as reader’s demand that the characters grow and change over the course of a story.  That’s what makes characters relatable and intriguing.  On the other hand, we have all known people who remain pretty much the same throughout their entire lives.  They maintain the same behavior as they did in high school or earlier, even well into their fifties and beyond.

These people who would be labeled as “static” characters in fiction may have children, have gotten married, maintain a home and mortgage, but still excessively party and have an immature black and white view of the world.  Especially with all the explosive controversies arising lately. I have seen people from older generations have an “agree with me or you are evil” perspective.  Now, I understand I’m only getting a small glimpse of these people’s lives on the internet, but there are writings and social media posts from some folks that maintain a similar theme, “I’m right and everyone else is wrong.”  There are of course, issues that should be black and white, but immature virtue signaling that appears to be all too prevalent.

I heard a quote, “If you aren’t growing you are either stagnant or regressing.”  That means if we are not actively seeking out growth than we are at very least staying the same.  It is entirely plausible to have a story of static characters and have it be “realistic.”  That would not be an engaging tale that most wouldn’t finish.  We expect growth and change from fictional characters, but what if we held ourselves to the same expectation?  In the real world, true well-rounded people who are constantly growing sometimes seems like the exception.  Imagine if that was the case in fiction?  Everyone would undoubtedly be bored.  It is easy to fall into the rut of routine of work, bills, and general numb feeling to the day to day life.  I challenge myself and those reading this to work toward growing a little every day.

5 Misconceptions About Being an Author


1. It’s easy

There is more to writing a book than sitting down in pj’s and creating a wild story. Books require research, even fictional ones, planning, and plotting. Writing the book is a very small piece of being an author. Then once the book is published, whether you are traditionally or independently published, marketing is something you will have to do mostly yourself. Once the book is out there the author will need to come up with a marketing plan and sell it. Selling the book is arguably more difficult than writing it, especially if you are new. While marketing the previous book(s) you wrote you had better get going on your next project. The more books that are out there, the more likely you are to sell them.

2. It’s not a real job

To those that assert this I ask the question, “Can you define what a real job is?” Does one have to work for a company for it to be a real job? Does one have to create a company for it to become a real job? This assertion is less offensive to me than it is silly and ambiguous.

3. It’s a fast way to make cash

No, one must have a specific calling to be an author because there is very little money in it. It takes A LOT of time and resources to produce a book, and it is rare to see much of a profit in return. There are a handful of famous authors, and some people assume that it is an easy way to make money. Obviously, not everyone is that naive, but since becoming an author myself I’ve been surprised by how many I’ve met who believe this.

4. Writer’s block is a common problem

Sure, creativity comes in varying degrees. Sometimes it’s easy to write a couple thousand words in a day, and other times all I can manage is a few hundred. Nevertheless, writing needs to happen. It isn’t about quantity it is about quality, and if that means a writer can only manage one hundred words in a day then so be it. No one who calls himself an author will not write simply due to writer’s block. Writing is our job and calling, meaning we must do it whether we are feeling it or not.

5. There is a “right” way to write a book

Anyone who has researched how to write a novel will come up with varying viewpoints on the subject. There are common threads such as outline the novel, write whatever comes to you while not worrying about quality, then revise and rewrite until it is perfected. I don’t favor that approach. My first draft is far from flawless, but I do take care to write as best as I can in that moment. Instead of rewriting entire manuscripts, I go through each one and revise and reword within the same document. The backspace key is my best friend as an author.