Character reference

I enjoy writing. This isn’t a surprise to those who know me. Over the last several years, I’ve written in a number of forums. Some fiction, some sports, and a thread of the personal blogging that has continued through all of this.

In fiction, I liked to write conflicted characters, with mixed backgrounds. This is in some contrast to my own life: I had a good upbringing, and a comfortable life, with very little in the way of personal drama. My biggest problem was and continues to be my insecurities and fears, which really had nothing on the classic story tropes of “running away from home” or “lost family member tragically” that I had managed to insert in the backstories of the characters I created.

In some ways, I was exploring the idea of what having that background was like. I didn’t really know struggle- I knew personal struggle, but not physical. The characters I wrote, they had really struggled. At least, what I could interpret as struggling. In a lot of ways, these characters were my insecurities and wants, what I knew and understood, played out in prose. Except they had reasons, because I’d built them in. I didn’t- at least, I didn’t think I did. I’ve learned that there are many good reasons to struggle, even in as comfortable a life as I have.

I’ve always believed that even fictional writing is partially a representation of ourselves, and it certainly was for me. Whether it reflects characteristics of ourselves (I pretty much can’t write anyone without them being analytical or sarcastic), or is something we’re trying to explore, it’s an expression of who we are, or something we’re trying to learn.

And I’ve always been drawn to good characters in any kind of expression. I can deal with cheesy or predictable or completely out there, but if you give me characters that I can relate to, characters with depth and meaning, characters with a story I can appreciate and follow, you’ll hook me.

I like knowing stories. I want to know what makes people tick. If we know someone’s story, we’re more likely to connect.

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