If you do not tell the truth about yourself, you cannot tell it about other people. Virginia Woolf
A good writer thoroughly understands his or her characters’ emotions, inner conflicts and the whole process of internal transformation. Great writers dig deep to find this emotional truth within themselves. A Character Map charts internal conflicts and emotional transformation. In planning your story, each major character should be mapped. This process will help you get inside your character’s emotions. But first you have to start with yourself.
Why start with yourself? Answer: You are a complex, interesting, fully-formed three-dimensional human being. You constantly wrestle with a variety of strong emotions and struggle continually with a whole range of internal conflicts. These are the kinds of characters you should write about.
Writers are always advised to write what they know. What writers (and all other human beings) know the most about is change. Living, by definition, is to change. Nothing in life is static. Change and transformation are all around you. Both impact and challenge you every day. Both offer opportunities and threats.
Now more than ever you live in an unsettling and constantly changing world– economic, cultural, political and social norms are shifting all around us. The world is in turmoil, full of uncertainty, evolving relationships, personal and professional ups and downs and conflicting responsibilities, loyalties, commitments and desires. Your characters should experience their world in exactly the same way.
You know from personal experience exactly how painful change and transformation can be. You have experienced extreme, dramatic and sometimes excruciating change. Your life has been full of unexpected reversals, complex dilemmas and difficult growth experiences– and so should the lives of your characters. (And there’s no reason why all this turmoil and pain shouldn’t be hilarious. Great comedians know– If it doesn’t hurt, it isn’t funny.)
So how do you create fictional characters out of all of this? How do you create stories filled with the kinds of emotions and changes you’ve experienced? It helps to have a process to turn your own raw material into fiction. Mapping your own character will help you create more authentic fictional characters. By understanding how change and transformation works in your life, you will gain insight into how to use this powerful process to create complex, interesting fully-formed three-dimensional fictional human beings-characters who are emotionally true and who have a life and integrity all their own.
I believe the creative process always starts with your own emotional truth. The only thing that makes your story unique is your personal point of view. Human beings have been telling stories since we were able to speak. There are no new stories. The only thing new is you and the way you see and experience the world. Who are you? What do you believe? What insights do you have to share with the world? What is the truth as you see it? All great writing moves from the personal to the universal. The Character Map eBook will help you dig deep and find the personal truth that resonate as universally compelling stories.