Mindful Characters

So, I think I’ve spoken before about characters who go off and do things a writer doesn’t plan – or say things a writer doesn’t plan.

I’ve had someone say to me that this can be a good thing. At the very least, the writer is learning more about the characters and can ensure they react more correctly to stimulus (usually nasty situations). Because you have to understand that sometimes, if a character goes off plot, then it means that you’re doing something with them that they don’t want to have happen. (Don’t ask about Troy or Marek, they have their own thoughts on this.)

What we all have to remember is that a character is a person – whether they’re based on someone or not. Although we put them through rigourous testing (situations) that don’t have a history in our own past, their reactions may be a reflection of things we have seen or observed in people around us.

Yesterday, our car was in for some repairs and they needed it all day. Now because of my injured foot (yes, those who went through it last year, same foot, different toe and different injury – although same cause), I didn’t want to spend all day wandering through Perth’s CBD. So we decided to spend the day on the trains.

We took a train as far north as we could go and then a train as far south as we could go before coming back to the city. Which was a great idea as the north and south lines are on the same tracks – no getting off and on trains! But the other interesting thing about doing something like that is the amount of people watching you can do.

There is an immense variety of people who catch trains – those who only get on for 1 or 2 stops, those who hit the doors to get off but then walk down to the next set to disembark and of course, school kids. Rowdy, noisy, nosy and generally unkempt! But full of character, too. Maybe it’s something I should do more often – but take a notebook or tablet computer with me to make notes. Oh, wait – I had a notebook – in the bottom of my backpack somewhere. I know I did …

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