Your characters are the most important, compelling element of your writing. They are the feature attraction to your readers, who are social animals. In order for the characters you write to be as realistic and attractive as possible, you need a method to organize and solidify their energy, their personality—well, their character, for yourself as the writer. When you have a sure sense of who the character really is, you can write them coherently, and in a manner that the reader can get right into.
Characters Are People, Too
When you write down a character, your subconscious immediately begins to form emotional energy into a facsimile of a body, like a paper doll in your mind. You, as the author, can tinker with this doll, taking pieces out and putting new pieces in, until you are satisfied with the result. What you, as the writer, need to be doing is making sure that your energy repository for each character is solid and unchanging, and that the core of the character is stable and consistent.
But What About Dynamic Characters?
That rare gem, the dynamic character, results when you write authentic, stable energy down in the form of a character, and then input changes to the organic flow of that energy. For example:
Luther put his hand on the top of the gun, and paused. He did not want to make up his mind too quickly; once you joined up with the Ta’r Kor, you were in for life. At least, that’s what the adverts said. But the money, which he imagined lying in a case, and shining like emeralds, made his mouth water. I can think about the aftermath later, he told himself, and after all, there were always the outer colonies. He had thought of emigrating when he had been a young man, and if things didn’t go the way he wanted today, well—
Here we have Luther, who is thinking, rather short-sightedly, about joining an intergalactic crime ring as an in-house mercenary. Luther’s energy is slapdash and rather like the sound of light rain dancing on metal. His aura is not sunk in through the ground.
Let us revisit Luther after a full course of dynamic change stretching over the length of eight books; we will say that he has killed his own mother, overthrown the order of the Ta’r Kor, and become a minor drug lord in his own right.
Luther’s hands were still; his eyes moved slowly along with the pair of nervous guards who carried the lady forward into the pool of light where he sat. He thought of asking them why they were so frightened; he knew why, but he liked to see the widening of their eyes when he spoke. The lady caught his attention now; she was thoroughly quiet, and her head was bowed very low. Her dark hair fell over her face, and her shoulders were unnaturally still.
“Leave us,” Luther said. The guards dropped the woman as if she had burned them; they practically ran from the room. The door made an echoing slam behind them. “Are you planning to kill me?” Luther asked. The lady looked up sharply; he laughed at the vivid rage that was in her eyes.
In this scene, we see that Luther has grown comfortable with himself. He has put roots of energy down through the ground, and his mind has become submerged in the grit of life-or-death realism.
You Just Wrote Different Characters! That Isn’t Dynamism!
Well, I did some complex energy development and growth forecasting, but let’s not get sidetracked from what I said we would talk about today. (I can address this concern another time if you like.) Today we are talking about how you can ensure permanent clarity in your own characters’ energy.
Okay, How Do I Do It For My Characters?
Your brain automatically comes up with an energy-shape for each character you create. This is that buzzing, warm sensation you get in your heart when you really know your characters deeply; when they do something you didn’t anticipate, or when you get that rush of euphoria at seeing them do something that is so very like them. You can make your energy-shapes permanent and consistent very, very easily.
Yes, Tell Me How To Do That!
Take one of your characters; now imagine their energy, the essence of what makes them feel like them. Focus your mind on their lower body, and feel, for a moment, what they feel. Are their legs connected strongly to the earth? Do they float or bounce when they walk? How grounded are they?
Once you’ve made a clear sensation of the character’s legs and lower body in your own form, move your mind up into the character’s torso and arms. Again, what is the energy sensation? Allow your own body to experience the sensations of your character’s energy carriage. What does it feel like to be them?
Now, finally, move your attention into your character’s mind; into their very brain. What does it feel like to think and process reality as your character? Let your mind sink into the shape of this character’s mind. When you have a clear picture, a strong feeling of how it would be, let go of the impression.
Once you have allowed your physical body, and your mental capacity, to fully empathize with the energy structure you have already created for each of your characters, you will write each of them with perfect consistency. What you will have done in this exercise is completed what amounts to an internal download of the whole system of each character; the characters will be stored in your body, and your mind will automatically write each particular energy every single time you write a character that you have downloaded in this way.
It may sound too easy, but you need to remember that you are a better writer than you think you are; your skills are more advanced than you realize. When you create a character, your mind and body assemble a free-standing, independent energy structure that you can then consciously access and download. Once you consciously get into the information that you have already subconsciously assembled, your characters will become so real to your mind that writing consistent, naturally-dynamic characters will come very easily to you. And once your characters are permanently themselves, and growing organically, they will become nearly irresistible to your readers.
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