This week: Relationships and Flawed CharactersEdited by: Joy
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“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.” – Carl Jung
“Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude." – William James
“Don't smother each other. No one can grow in the shade.” — Leo Buscaglia
“People are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges.” — Joseph F. Newton Men
“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.” — Henry Winkler
“We can improve our relationships with others by leaps and bounds if we become encouragers instead of critics.” — Joyce Meyer
“An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.”
— Mahatma Gandhi.
Hello, I am Joy , this week's drama editor. This issue is about character flaws having an effect on story characters' interpersonal relationships.
Welcome to the Drama newsletter
Some say about the goings on in our world, “as above so below.” The same goes for the characters we create; except for the sake of the craft while we are sticking to reality, we need to exaggerate a bit to make those characters interesting yet believable.
Fact is, at the heart of life, lie the relationships people have with other people. As writers, how we let these relationship flow, grow, or go down has a huge impact on the success of our stories and especially dramatic fiction.
Usually, small details can create big emotions both in the reader and the characters.
Here is an example of two people on the street just talking. See how the noticing of a gun dramatizes the situation, although the gun here has no bearing on their conversation.
“I’m going with you,” he said, not loud; we stood there under the circumspect eyes and spoke quietly to one another like two conspirators. Then I saw the pistol, the outline of it inside his shirt, probably the one we had taken from Grumby that day we killed him.
William Faulkner, from The Unvanquished
On the other hand, small emotions can create large experiences. An example could be a story about a character like Alice in Wonderland who felt curiosity and followed a rabbit down the rabbit hole and we all know what else happened to her.
While working on characterization, a few major questions to ask our characters about how they relate to others are:
Some people naturally have great interpersonal skills. Most have to learn and practice interpersonal skills in order to master them. What will you learn in this story in regard to dealing with others?
Are you more comfortable to connect to people as individuals or as a group?
Can you control your emotions and to what degree?
Are you competent in conflict resolution? If not, how are you going to learn to compromise, negotiate and solve problems calmly or otherwise?
How are your listening skills? Can you listen fully and intently to what another character is saying or does some of that pass you by?
How is your questioning? Do you question others about what they tell? If you do, what are your questions like, such as open ended, exploratory, or intent-meaning-or-thought-searching?
How do you react to the rough times other characters are having? Do you empathize with the other characters and support them or put them down?
A distinct advantage to a story may be when a character’s flaw is somewhat hidden and it resurfaces during any kind of an interpersonal relationship. Such a flaw could be jealousy, pride, fear, greed, feelings of incompetence, or lust for power. Also, if a character has abusive tendencies that are well hidden and they show up at an unexpected moment, it could give the story some intriguing twists and turns.
Until next time!
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This Issue's Tip: An effective way to show a character's frustration is to show how their body moves and how any emotion affects their body.
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