Have you ever said that about one of your pets? Or of a child? Or someone so precocious that's all you can think of to describe them?
If there's one way to describe sweet baby boy Roi, that's it. He's a character. With a gleam in his eyes and the wild thrill of puppydom, all of life is an adventure. He wants to play, to feel the wind in his ears, to gnaw the world to splinters, and sleep only when he collapses. With his own unique sense of humor, fears, needs, and desires, he definitely is own "person", as we talked about on Monday.
There were times when this little puppy drove me crazy. He wouldn't listen and kept chewing on the furniture. He started playing with the bell he rings so he could go outside, and if I didn't take him, he'd bark and whine. But he didn't have to do any business. He just wanted to eat the leaves.
But even in the chaos, there were moments where he was completely adorable. Like the sweet kisses he gave me when I picked him up to take him outside. Like how he let me cuddle with him right before I put him away for the night. Like how he'd randomly turn and look at the television, then tilt his head as different images appeared on screen as if he were really watching it. Or the times he looked at me simply with such a beautiful combination of trust, innocence, and humility. I find that expression often in animals, especially dogs. I think it's what draws me to them.
But I had to look for those moments. Those were the events that made everything worth it, the moments when he became sweet once again.
Have you ever looked for the human, vulnerable side of your characters--particularly your antagonists? What makes them click? What makes them cry? Have you ever felt sympathy for them?
I had an interesting experience writing and editing the book I just finished revising. In short, I fell in love with my antagonist. Her actions made me so angry because she was so wrong, but when I looked at her motivation, my heart broke for her. This character is so misguided and full of grief--and she doesn't know why. Her actions are a direct result of her genuine and beautiful love for certain individuals in her life, unfortunately it caused more pain than any other conflict in the story. Why? Because it came from her. At first, I hated her. But the more she opened her heart to me, the more I understood her. The more I identified with her. And it was those pauses, the sweet, vulnerable moments that drew me to her. After walking through her story with her, I want all of my antogonists to be as real to me as this lady.
Have you looked at your antagonists and seen more than their mean side? What makes them tick? Are they human--real "characters"?
The face of a ferocious antogonist. Notice the underbite. Grrr.
And now, a super sweet moment:
See Y'all Friday!
54 minutes ago