Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Characters we CARE ABOUT
In response to Julie Musil's Building Characters post. Read it and come back here or read it there. I really don't care which you do, satisfy yourself because I know you will anyway -- that's what knuckers do.
All right, missy (Julie), you just touched on something that's been nagging at me these past few months, and in fact has nagged me for many months across many years across many many stories for all the time I've been a-writing.
Here's the nag: ALL characters are important.
Every. Last. One.
If you ever dismiss a character as unimportant, that is you as the writer's fault for not being more sympa/empathetic.
This point was hammered home to me recently when I read Vonnegut's Breakfast for Champions.
I always sensed that everyone was equally important, but V pointed this out in B&W and even drew a human anus to make his point.
That's true. Read the book if you don't believe me.
Your #7 and #9 are the two that got me -- extraneous and non-care-abouts.
There is no such thing as non-characters in your story, anymore than there is such a thing in real life.
We all have agendas. We are all important. We are all meaningful, and if you forget that point you'll alienate your reader who just happens to be a cocktail waitress at a dive bar that you as a high-pedestal author do not think is important.
You see the point, yes? You see the left hook in that comment?
Give your characters respect. Give them your love. You are their God and Creator and Savior.
If they pop up, even tangentially, they are your creation and deserve your respect and affection.
Or murder them. Someone else said that, too, murder your darlings.
But they're your darlings. Nothing unimportant about them, so lay them on the slab and bleed them, but cry about it when you do.
ps: I love Julie's site. If you're not on there, go there, join, and make her your friend. Here is the link: http://juliemusil.blogspot.com