Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tuesday Talks about Reality

I don't know if y'all have seen or heard about Kristen Bell's "sloth" incident, but I've watched it about three times today and I can't stop laughing. The look of complete shock on her face and the fact that she reacted so powerfully to a sloth is simply amazing. I've provided y'all with the video if you want to see it for yourselves.

Now that we're all on the same page emotionally, I want to discuss the idea of--you guessed it--emotions. In particular, I'd like to talk about realistic reactions as regarding fictional characters.

Emotions are something that, as a writer, I've found it hard to convey with words. Things have to be done just right before I feel like I've done a thorough job of making known what the character is feeling or experiencing. Sometimes though I just think I'm beating that horse to death.

Not a pretty picture.

Reality is what you can get away with.However, portraying the emotions of characters in a realistic manner is something that must happen, or the reader will feel cheated. No one likes to read a book where the characters don't act the way they are supposed to or where they are like cardboard cutouts.

Readers (I'm including us in this scenario, haha) can see straight through those kinds of characterizations and do not like to waste precious reading time trying to justify the emotional pitfalls of faulty characters. We don't want fake, wilted, over-used, drawn-out, paper-sack characters. We want real, flesh and blood people inside our heads. It's what makes reading so much fun.

I'm not saying that all characters should fit into one schema, but nevertheless, it is important to remember that other people know a whole lot more about the genuine nature of mankind than we sometimes give them credit for. Most people can tell the difference between a stick figure and the Mona Lisa.

Before I go off on a tangent about the fact that we all think we're the center of the universe and live in a self-centric model of existence, let me state one last thing: if everyone felt as passionately as Kristen Bell does about sloths about something other than themselves, then this world would be a better place. And yes, that has nothing to do with what I've just been saying about characterization. Or does it?

Now that I've given us all something to think about, what do y'all think about the need for a realistic portrayal of human emotions? Is it easy for you? Hard? Is it something you notice right away when reading? 

Until next time...

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