Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Don't look down

It's not just the title of a collaboration from Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer, apparently it's my own personal philosophy.

I rarely look down. I didn't realize this until my friend had to keep pointing out stuff on the path that I was about to step on, like the raccoon. It wasn't until I was told to step aside that I realized the raccoon was dead. I was too busy looking up in the trees. My friend, on the other hand, didn't look up. Not much anyway. I was looking up or into the distance, seeing the big picture, trying to take everything in. My friend was focused on the path we walked, on what was right in front of us, on the details.

Between the two of us we managed to see both high and low, near and far.

We were talking about our writing the next day, specifically our characters and their evolutions. We discussed every little trick we've ever read about understanding them better; their goals, motivations and conflicts; their perceptions and they way they are perceived. I thought about our own walk in the park and how differently we experienced it. What of our characters? Did they see overviews or minutiae? Are they focused in the present, looking ahead to the future, or perhaps mired in the past? Do their viewpoints complement or conflict each other? How does it affect their relationship, the plot or story if their styles are the same?

I try to look down once in awhile to get a better sense of what's in front of me. Like my demon's wings, my hero's exuberance and the knotty branch blocking the path.

1 comment:

  1. A lot to think about after reading this post. I need to look at my characters the way you do to make them fuller people.

    That said, I wish I'd seen your face when she told you not to step on the raccoon. It's not something you expect to step on even in a park