• I. L. Tanis

Character Post 4

Hello all! I hope everyone had a good Valentine's Day!

This character post is going to be on perspective. By perspective, I don’t mean storytelling. No, I mean your character’s life perspective.

Perspective is important; it’s what helps us relate to characters.

In my series, I have two characters who are different as chalk and cheese (that’s a British expression). They have to work together because of orders from higher authorities. Gaol (Gay-ol), and Dilia (Dil-ee-a).

Gaol comes into the story as the more solemn, quiet one, who is respectful to authority, but very harsh on everyone else. He was raised in a culture that looked down on differences, and he was picked on, so he’s very distrustful and sees new things as dangerous and hostile

Dilia, on the other hand, is introduced as a very excitable and happy soul and rather naive to pain, as she’s been raised in a near-perfect place with loving parents. She’s genuine and has good intentions, but she is also too trusting and this gets them in just as much trouble as Gaol's inability to trust.

As the story progresses, they go on a journey with friends, and they learn how to interact with people better; Gaol becomes less harsh and more open-minded because of Dilia being a loving butterfly of a friend who pesters him with questions, and Dilia learns common sense from Gaol, who is very cautious and admonishing.

What Gaol didn’t see at first, was that her chipper happiness is a mask for great loneliness and hurt.

What Dilia didn’t see was that Gaol isn’t as harsh as he puts on. He is seen by everyone as gruff, rude, blunt, and suspicious. He does behave in this way, but it’s a survival mechanism that’s become almost second nature that he learned from a young age.

They grow as friends and balance each other out as their extremes tone down. Their perspective on their journeys and their lives changes quite a bit.

The point of this long explanation is that the perspective of your character will be greatly influenced by their life, so be sure to give it careful thought before you write, and your character will become so much more relatable. It will help your readers fall in love with your story.

Here are some examples of perspectives that may help:

1: If you have a noble who thinks everyone else is beneath them, how would they treat commoners? Certainly not with a lot of respect. This can be portrayed in how he/she speaks of them or what details they notice. They’d be more likely to see the dirt, the lack of jewels or money, simple mistakes that everyone makes. They’d be less likely to see the smiles, the love, the caring, or beautiful eyes. Or if they do, they will be confused or even jealous.

2: Someone who’s been through abuse or is currently in that situation, will most certainly have trust issues and triggers that can be set off by things that others may not know about. They may be suspicious of newcomers into their friends’ lives or the group’s circle. They may be overly submissive, believing that if anything goes wrong it’s their fault. Many have a warped sense of self-worth that is potentially crippling. Some will constantly be looking for affirmation for their actions.

3: Someone who has a romantic interest or relationship with another character is an interesting perspective to write because as much as if not more so than suspicion, this is going to seriously affect many choices, especially involving their life and that special person’s. It may blind them to others’ welfare, and cause disastrous outcomes. Or this might open them up and they become more considerate. Either way, it will seriously affect the outcome of some situations.

4: A character in poverty is not likely to have much good to say about the rich people they see or encounter. They may not be openly bitter but there’s a good chance they have some level of disdain toward those who are very well off. So if a rich person is showing concern they might scoff and take it as pity. Or maybe they don't; maybe they’ve learned to be content with what they have. This could be a very interesting perspective to write from!

5: Those who have gone through trauma, like war, or a terrible accident, will also have triggers that can be set off by things we don’t see as a problem. Certain noises or actions will upset them and affect how they react to situations, and that can really impact outcomes depending on what they do.

Just a quick reminder: Research before writing!

I know, some of us don’t like research, but it’s important, and it’s worth it. I have had several embarrassing times where I've written something that was inaccurate, then it was read by others and I sounded pretty foolish. And it's all part of the learning process, use it as a growing opportunity, don't dwell on it. We all make mistakes.

Don’t just decide that your character will be in a certain situation or lifestyle, or have something like trauma and/or abuse, or physical disabilities, then write what you think it’s like. It can sound absolutely naive for one thing, and it can also be really insulting for people who have experienced these things in real life to find inaccurate representation that gives others incorrect information and the wrong perspective. As writers, we should strive to do our best to be true. It doesn't matter what genre you write.

Find real-life examples, read the stories of people who have gone through similar experiences to what you want to write.

Well, I hope this is helpful!

Until next time,


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