So my husband was teasing me. I know that is not surprising, but he doesn’t typically get to tease me in this way. You see, I do not tend to use profanity. Actually, I don’t even use it as all, except on those rare occasions when it slips out under duress. Or sometimes to shock my children. Anyhow, he was giving me a bad time because I had used two cuss words in a small story that I had written. It was not a big deal, but I did it because it made sense for the character. That is of course, if sea otters could talk.
I didn’t think much else about that until later in the evening, when my hubby chose to watch the end of Gone with the Wind. And when I say end, I mean the last two hours. As the “exit music” was playing, I made a couple of observations of the film, and not all of them good. One thing that I truly liked about the movie, was in regards to what I was thinking about earlier in the day. Characters.
I really loved the way that the main characters were written. They stayed true to who they were right to the end of the film. Mellie was kind and gracious, Ashley was living in a dream world, and Rhett was a gambler to the end but knew when to throw in his hand. And Scarlett. I think she wanted to love other people. She was just never really good at it, except for maybe that twin in the mirror. It’s funny, but because the characters stayed static in who they were, the ending is abrupt and somewhat of a letdown. Really though, what was supposed to happen? Rhett to sweep Scarlet into his arms and all is forgiven? That wouldn’t make sense, and that is what is great about it.
I have no idea why this really struck me as it did, except for the reason that I am trying to get out of my writing “box”. I think in fiction in my head, but when I write, I tend to do commentary. So I am using this as a lesson. An answer to a question that I think I might be asking in the future. How do I write a compelling character?
You see, I realized that, as a movie, I am not a big GWTW fan. As an adult, I have a very
different view of the movie than I did as a child. Even with that, I have to say that I am in love with these characters. Not because of who they are, but because how they are written. (OK, I do like Mellie. I want to be that kind and gracious someday.) Those are the kind of characters I want to write. Ones that you can’t stand, because they are written with such perfect clarity. Or ones that you love, not because they are perfect, but because they are honest.
This sounds a bit like a challenge to me. Why do I think so? Well I guess it was also due to this quote:
“Everything you’re going through is preparing you for what you asked for.”
Well I have asked God for a lot. Maybe this was His way to prepare me for whatever He’s got going on. Maybe it was a message to get off my booty and write something different? Write a character that makes people wonder, or think and maybe feel something. A character to make someone laugh, cry or to encourage them to something new. While I am still not exactly sure what it all means, at this point challenge accepted!