Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Acting up

I remember when I was a teenager and I needed something, I'd got to my dad and ask. Well, what do you expect? Teenagers do live on daddy's money, innit? Well, I asked, and I got it.
Today, I am what is known as a housewife. I work part-time and am pretty much financially independent, but that doesn't cover every purchase I need to make. Like that new, bigger oven I've been wanting. So, I go the the husband and ask, and I usually get what I want.

You might think I'm a man-manipulator. To a certain extent, that's true. You need to know how to tackle/handle situations. With my dad, the big-eyes-like-Puss-in-Boots-from-Shrek2 worked wonders. Not so with the hubby - a logical explanation and a clear balance sheet would most probably win me my endeavour. On my boys, a glare generally works.

So what am I getting at? In dealing with these 3 types of men, I am the same woman, the same character in the story of my life, but I show/use/display different facets with every one of them. I know what 'logically' works on every one of them to get me my goal.

Every life is a story in itself, and every person is the actor acting his/her part out. True - you may not always know the scenario and it's almost always improvisation. But even in improvisation, you need logic. This is no different from any story you're writing, even though you as the writer should, logically, know the scenario of your story and how your chaarcters/actors are supposed to play their parts.

So what is logical and what's not where emotions are concerned? T.J. mentioned the aspect pertaining to archetypes, and how each archetype is logically expected to act in a situation. My answer to the above question is -

There is no better way to get this right than by knowing your characters.

I stress the plural on the word - knowing your main character, the heroine, is good - you know how she will act. Fine. But acting is not a one-way street, and it is always an interpersonal interaction. You act in relation to other people too. Know those other people as well as you know your heroine.
Let's take, again, the Nurturer. Thus, when she will take on the stoic banker, she will be professional, not an insipid, crying and bailing-her-heart-out wimpy creature even if that's how she feels inside because she isn't used to tackling hard situations as she always "fixes". When she takes on the tough-as-nails, cynical hero, she won't be commanding that he do this and he do that. She'll work him through emotion, through an indirect approach that will slowly work a way into his heart, because she fixes broken things and the best approach to do that is through patience and little gestures (these are aspects/characteristics tied to a Nurturer archetype).

You can also work through preconceptions, stereotypes and the like as the starting point of your 'logical' approach. If you say (like my good gal pal and I discussed not too long ago *wink at her*) that 'all men have their mind in the gutter', know how much of your hero's mind is actually in said gutter. But this approach is tricky - you can easily fall into the trap of surface logic and cardboard-cutout-character-logic in this case.

Goodness, I really am clear as mud today, aren't I? And, in case you're wondering, I'm still pleading my case to get that new oven.

Any questions, feel free to holler!

Aasiyah Qamar - Cultural Romantic Fiction, With a Twist
Coming out October 2 - Light My World - Eirelander Publishing
Nolwynn Ardennes - the Promise of Fulfilment
Coming out in early 2010 - Storms in a Shot Glass - Eirelander Publishing

Aasiyah Qamar/Nolwynn Ardennes - Romance the world over


Chicki said...

Good points! Thus far I've "known" my characters well enough to know what they will or will not do. But I need to do more study on archetypes in order to make them even more realistic.

Z(Aasiyah/Nolwynn) said...

Thanks Chicki. Glad the post was helpful!



Julia Smith said...

'With my dad, the big-eyes-like-Puss-in-Boots-from-Shrek2 worked wonders.' - LOL, Z!