Thursday, August 23, 2012

Character Analysis and Our Significant Others

Last night, Dear Husband and I had a tiff.

I asked him one of those dreaded questions that significant others who are bound to creative thinkers...artists, musicians, writers, tax attorneys...always are asked at some point when it comes to whatever project said thinker is working on.  "So, what you do think...?"  followed by a long, drawn out explanation that covers the entire combination of chosen colors, score, plots and tax code regulations attempting to be circumvented.

I love Dear Husband.  DH is what I call him.

DH, unlike many other times, decided to indulge my inquiries last night.  I don't know why.  He had to have known it would lead to no good.  Or maybe, since he is also a creative thinker, he knew how good it would lead (okay, that didn't work, get what I'm saying).  

My question:  "So, what do you think if my character asks the protagonist for help?"  DH picked up the thinking stick in response, a rolled up pole of wrapping paper leaning against the wall in my office.  He swung it around for a bit, used it as a light saber, tossed it around his head, pretended it was an extension of a particular body part that shall not be named and said, "I don't think your character would do that"  in so many words.  

I was like

Please... who asked you anyway?

He continued..."I know this person, the kind of guy you are writing about.  He's a dick right?  This guy would think all of that, what you are writing about, is beneath him.  He wouldn't ask for help because he wouldn't think he needed it.  He wouldn't see how wrong he is because he is privileged."

Hmm...DH was on to something.  The more I thought about it and let his comment stew, the more I realized that he was actually right.  That my character was privileged and had no idea that he should ask for help.  But, the entirety of my plot depended on his getting this help.  So, what could I do?  What should I do?  The only thing I could do.  I got to know my character.  Or rather, I started to get to know him better.  Because I had an idea of who he was.  I had an idea of who I wanted him to be in the end.  But, I didn't know him well enough to allow him to take me there.

So the word of the day is "character."  No plotting, no story, no further...not until I know exactly who I am dealing with.  Thank you DH and all the other significant others out there for putting up with our random questions and actually indulging us with coherent and meaningful responses.  You many not think you help, but you really do.