I posted this on Instagram and for some reason, the thought stuck with me: it isn’t just advice for us as people, but as a writer too. When we write characters, we have to consider these nuances to make them more believable as imaginary people, so our readers have no doubt into the credibility of the character.
As a reader, you want to identify with the characters. Creating unimaginable scenarios and personality traits gives your audience little to identify with, but each of us has been that person who had been nice to bad people. We’ve hated every minute of it, but we did it. Our characters should be the same. They should have to deal with others in behaviors which we all can say, yes, I recognize that.
And while we shouldn’t regret it, why not show your character regretting it, because, let’s face it–we do! We hate ourselves for doing things for people who don’t deserve it, but we do, because we’re nice. Show that struggle on paper, but maybe have your characters do something about it. Or become so buried underneath their regrets, they smother. Something semi-extreme so the reader can say, yes, I wish I could do that. Or I would never do that.
The greatest thing we can do as writers is explore the behaviors of our characters. Mimic humanity while stretching the truth just enough that we can identify with but fantasize through. But we need to remember that these moments in the story does speak more about the character’s personality than anything, and that personality needs to be bubbling over or simmering just beneath the surface, without being overt.
Until next time…
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