So, a couple of weeks ago I went down to Buford, this area with a ton of stores, restaurants, and the biggest mall in the state of Georgia. My friends and I were on the way to our favorite restaurant and saw this dude dancing on the sidewalk. At least, we think it was a guy. It was someone in a mascot suit.
Dressed in red and blue, the costume was easy to spot on the street corner. The poor guy (it was cold, so maybe he was just trying to warm up) did everything he could to attract attention.
There was only one problem--none of us had any clue what store he represented.
I scanned the marquee in the parking lot, trying to figure out which venue he "belonged" to. But none of them seemed to make sense. We drove by the dancing mascot curious, but not enough to make us stop and figure out the mystery.
This is definitely a branding issue, but it goes deeper than that--all the way to identity. In this case there was a disconnect between the mascot and his store. And his advertisement wasn't very effective (at least for those of us in the vehicle), because he couldn't compell us to stop and postpone our feast at the garden of olives (ha!). He knew who he was, obviously, but it was lost in translation.
Sometimes I feel that happens with me too. Do you ever feel that way? I know sometimes someone will say something to me, citing a certain part of my personality and demeanor, and I'm completely surprised. Not offended, just surprised. Because I'm so far inside my own head that I don't notice how others see me. It always surprises me when someone tells me their perception of me and it's 180 degrees from what I would say about me.
I have my own sense of identity. I know who I am. But it makes me laugh when it gets "lost in translation". Then we have to look for the link between the two.
Unless of course, you're a dancing mascot with no correlation. Then you just drive on by.
This goes even beyond our identities as writers. What about the identities of our characters, especially the primary ones? Do we see them differently than our readers will? Or even other characters in the novel? What kind of craziness does this create for you, if any? For me it usually means I need to sit down and chisel away, see what's left, and then add what's needed. Very time consuming. But it usually gives me a better perspective of the character when it's all over.
See y'all Friday!
6 hours ago