I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Meg Rosoff (one of our contributors here at Writer Unboxed) in Salem at the un-con. I was intrigued by her discussion about hot and cold spots in the brain, the emotional poignancy that resides in those zones, and how to access them. Throughness, she called it; an opening of pathways between the conscious and subconscious mind. As writers, we need to tap into these centers to channel authentic emotion into our characters on the page. An interesting concept. But while I think tapping into our own emotional wells and developing our emotional IQ is a good start, I’d like to take it a step further.
We must expand our understanding of human behavior to create authentic characters.
It’s what I like to call the “science of character writing.” Writers are scientists of human nature. We observe behavior patterns and body language, and often the nearly undetectable movements that reflect what happens just below the surface or deep within our minds and hearts. Without this understanding of human nature, our characters come off as stereotypical, flat, and unbelievable. Some of us are born with an innate ability to read others, to magically peel back the layers of defenses and quirks to see what is really brewing in someone’s mind. Some of us live more in our own heads and struggle with this ability. But we can all hone this inclination to create authentic characters. [Read more…]