Friday, February 5, 2010

Characters of life

As a writing instructor, I have to guide my students to write properly in many areas.  This month, in the fundamentals class, I teach them how to construct proper sentences and paragraphs.  In Composition I and II we cover six other types, from a process analysis paper all the way to persuasive essays.  In there, as well, we teach them what makes up a good story and the basic elements of plot.  In my Comp II classes, I finish the month with a movie and a brief overview of interpretive analysis papers and how to identify whether or not characters are rounded or flat.

As humans, our lives tend to be filled with many rounded characters; they have their light sides and their dark sides.  Life falls into many grey areas and we are left to decide what is acceptable.  As a writer, I try to plan out all my characters.  I know their background and history, I know their likes and dislikes.  I know what makes them tick.  And, with all my characters, I always include a "fatal flaw".  And like most writers, my characters' fatal flaws are based on my own experience with such flaws. 

I recognize my weaknesses, whether or not I want to.  I recognize I suffer from a certain amount of hubris.  I don't think it's a large amount, but I can also recognize times where my pride can get in the way.  I can also recognize the good that pride can achieve.  It's that pride that allows me the confidence to stand in front of a classroom night after night and teach. 

I also recognize that, at times, I may be a little stubborn and headstrong.  I will throw myself eagerly into the fray if I feel that it is the right thing to do.  This can be bad since, in my headlong rush to join in, I don't take stock of the situation and will, quite often, find myself pitted against stronger foes than me.  Big Guy has been known to yank me out of situations he has decided were too dangerous, either for me or overall.  He's described watching me handle these situations as akin to watching a small kitten face off against a large dog where the kitten thinks it's bigger than it is and the dog doesn't know what to do with the little thing hissing and spitting at it. 

Really, our quirks make us who we are,  I am always looking out for those interesting quirks in people because they are fascinating and wonderful.  Big Guy, the love of my life, has his own share of quirks.  He has a "white knight complex" which has led to his share of hard times.   However, it also led to our getting together when he helped me move in a pinch.  People are such interesting things. 

What are your flaws?  What flaws, if you write, are always there in your characters? 

1 comment:

Tiffany said...

Lovely post. I really enjoyed reading this. You are a brilliant writer. {grin}

Flaws: fear of failure; fear of the unknown - just fear.