For the Conscious Writer
“There is no passion to be found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Nelson Mandela
Passionate characters can drive the story forward. Passion can drive us as writers forward and make us do things we never thought possible. In my last post Resentment and Passion, I explained that in order to help me let go of resentment, I had to change my perspective. (You can read more about it here.) What I figured out from changing my perspective is that it wasn’t what I was resentful about that I needed to let go of but what I was passionate about.
So, let’s talk about passion.
I said in that post I was passionate about mothering my children. It’s something I hold dear to my heart. The passion I have for mothering comes with intentionally investing in the relationship I have with my children. It comes with creating moments for them to engage in self-discipline and self-discovery. It comes with snuggles, tears, hugs, frustration and so much more.
So, when writing a passionate character these are the actions and emotions you want your character to engage in. But we can’t stop there. This is just a character with their passions in check.
A character with unchecked passion ultimately turns into a villain. One of my most favorite characters with unchecked passion is King Pin from the Marvel comic books. Creating a great character with unbridled passion should start with a checked passion that grows out of control. I think we can relate to those characters better. Which helps us to better understand the bad in this world.
Unbridled passion is often brushed off and claimed as just mindless evil but that’s just not enough for us conscious writers. We need to understand. The answer to some of the most misunderstood villains is passion.
“If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” -Benjamin Franklin
How can we keep a character’s passion in check?
Take who or what they’re passionate about away, you might think.
Ah, but this is where you must know your character. Is your character mature enough to grow from that loss or will removing that passion will bring them into villainy?
The best way to round your character with a passion in check is to mature the character in other areas of their life. Give them a sense of something outside of their passion.
When a character loses something, they were passionate about and doesn’t have the maturity in other areas of their life, they should plummet into an existential crisis because they don’t have any other thing driving them forward. (Besides what you throw at them.)
As conscious writers, we should take note of that. If we want to be well-rounded writers, we must keep our passions in check. We should rule our passions, not let our passions rule us.
Some ways we, as real living humans, can keep our passions in check.
Have hobbies outside of what we’re passionate about
Have healthy relationships with peers and family
Work to live don’t live to work or Write to live don’t live to write
Understand that without your gifts and talents you are enough
Create things perfect, imperfect, doesn’t matter just create things
Invest in your physical health
Focus on growth and forward movement
Having passion is a good thing and a great tool. I think we should all invest in our passions. It might rule from time to time, but like Ben Franklin said, allow reason to reel you back in.
Follow me on