With a friendly wave the the Les Miserables fandom, this is what we're talking today: figuring out who the heck you are. Because not only do you need to know about the deep, dark parts of your characters, you need to know those parts of yourself. And this isn't some sort of post championing myself as master of this topic - because I'm not and hopefully I never do that because I'm not the master of anything - this is more of a 'this will help you' blog post, because people who know themselves naturally know their characters better. Whether you're like me and you take pieces of yourself to create others or you find archetypes and embellish them to your liking, or whatever you do, knowing yourself can only help you.
Like we were talking Tuesday, it's important for transformations to include cognitive change - whether that's emotional, intellectual, or the actual growing of your brain. The thing is, writing with experience makes it easier in abstract cases like these. There's no way to tell that someone is changing or that their brain is growing (unless you're into lobotomy - I'm not) except for thoughts, which you can't illustrate, and actions, which come from thoughts. The whole 'write what you know' thing isn't quite true with concrete concepts, like knife-throwing, being shot, or talking to animals, whatever your genre. But in the case of something that you can't see, it's a little tougher and at least for me, it's easier saying it after you've done it.
A lot of books - especially in the YA genre - are about figuring out who you are. And a lot of who you are lies in what you think. And there's really no set way to get to know yourself to figure out what you're thinking, it's a personal journey that is unique for everyone and explored through different avenues for everyone. Writing has been part of mine, as has my other experiences. I have friends who have gone to camps or conferences and come back being changed. Part of finding yourself is having experiences that challenge you and force you to look at yourself in a different light. This may seem like a very general and vague post, but that's because it is. This whole 'who am I' business is a journey to Mordor of one. You're Frodo, and you don't get a Sam to go with you. But don't fret - you have your fellowship around, you can have support. You just have to do the heavy lifting on your own.
What are your thoughts? Got any experiences that truly changed you? Get any inspiration with an experience that really helped her character? Let me know!
Looking into the Pensieve,