Being a writer can be pretty deep sometimes. I was just watching a video on writing, and the YouTuber said stories are driven by characters, and characters are driven by a couple things.
- Characters start out with a lie. This is why the book exists! A character believes a lie and operates based on that lie.
- They also have a deep-rooted desire. They believe “If I just had ________” or “I just were ___________”, then “my life would be INFINITELY BETTER.”
- Their fear keeps them believing the lie and away from their desire. This creates what we love: CONFLICT.
As I was watching the video, I was thinking . . . OH NO (haha). I am a classical character.
I too believe a lie. I mean, don’t we all? My lies come in different shapes and sizes and flavors depending on the season or current circumstances.
As a Christian, I believe all since is rooted in a deeply misplaced lie about God. I’m dissatisfied because I believe God can’t fully satisfy me; I’m lonely because I don’t believe God is with me. As a human, I believe I am incapable or not smart enough or not trying enough.
In my book The Memory Jumper, Adelaide believes that she can’t escape from Fawn. She can never go outside and be free. She also believes that she is a monster and not worthy of freedom because of the evil she has been a part of.
I also have a desire. I have many, because I am a well-rounded character. 😉 I desire to go to book stores and drink coffee.
Oh, wait . . . not that kind of desire?
Deep down, I just want to live a life worth living. I don’t want to die and wake up in heaven, knowing I wasted years of my life. I want to be a companion, an encourager for all whose paths I cross. I don’t want to make peoples’ lives harder: I want to make them infinitely easier.
I want to make the unloveable feel loved.
In The Memory Jumper, Adelaide wants to go outside. She wants to know that her talent is actually a blessing, not a curse. She wants to be a creator and sell her pottery and jewelry in The Switch (THE MOST EPIC flea market type place you’ll EVER read about haha). And she wants Fawn to be the mother Adelaide thought she was.
Ugh, don’t get me started on this. Fear, it is a liar (as the song goes). I’ve grown to realize that fear is THE MOST POWERFUL THING IN THE WORLD (well, besides love and truth). Fear keeps us from doing what we wish we could do. Fear of failure and rejection are huge obstacles for me.
In The Memory Jumper, Adelaide’s fear is that Fawn’s abuse will get worse. She also fears that she’ll grow completely numb to the evil she is committing, turning into Fawn.
WHAT KIND OF A CHARACTER ARE YOU?
- What is my LIE?
- What is my DESIRE?
- What is the FEAR feeding into my LIE and keeping me from my DESIRE?
Maybe we need more writers to pinpoint this classic recipe for conflict. There’s a reason stories are built on these concepts: they’re relatable, and they’re the building blocks of our lives! And, maybe with a little bit of introspection, you’ll be able to become a character with a positive character arc, ready for the next “book” in your “series.” 😉