Details Make the Character

I am in the midst of writing something new. I have just begun but am well into the plot structure and character outlines. Hours have gone into researching the authenticity of each and every one so they have sufficient depth. This is the key to realism, which happens to be my goal. Unless you are working within the genre of sci-fi, I encourage young writers to be careful with the details. Everything works together—story, characters, writing style, time frame—to make a successful literary presentation. I have certainly put in the time to know.

This blog is about some basic advice to those entering this formidable field. It is exciting to say the least to see your words on the computer screen and eventually paper. But it is not about ego, but truth. Personal attributes make characters come alive like facial expression, attire, demeanor and stature, color of hair and eyes. What they do for work or recreation gives insight into their nature. I was writing the other day about one person with a central place in my plot and decided to include a mention of his soccer mania. All of a sudden, I was thrown into a world of gear like knee and ankle supports like the ones on this web site. In the long run, I hope this will make the background more believable. It will enter into the character’s decision making process as the reader will see. There will be a long passage about buying a professional soccer ball.

I may end up tossing it all out as extraneous unless I make the game of soccer a metaphor of sorts for something in the hero’s soul. We shall see. I am playing with ideas while I continue to research the world of sports passion. It might take a different turn. Will he wear a soccer jersey at any point to become incognito on the streets? Will he play a match or two against a formidable opponent? Is it to prove superiority or to win the hand of a woman? There is a lot I can do with it if I so chose. I like to reread what I have written at least a week later to see if it all holds up. I will know if it fails right away. At first, as a writer you can’t see the forest for the trees. Distance gives you wisdom so be sure to take it.

Details make the character so it just depends how much. That is my ending advice. I got so into soccer that I shoved everything I learned into my work at one time. It may be too intense as a result. The rivalry shown in the final match could, however, be a turning point in the plot and a clever device. These are the big decisions that writers have to make. Bad judgment has been the ruination of more than a few.