Let your characters choose between right and wrong. See how they react in a situation. Sometimes they surprise you and they respect themselves far more than you think. Same in life, you have to let people choose to make the wrong decision. If you take away the chance for someone to choose between right and wrong one, they will never know if they were capable of making the right decision, and neither will you. Your mind will always wonder how bad they would have fucked up if you didn’t step in. You gotta let them be themselves. It gives them room to grow and trust themselves. Making mistakes is the most important part of growth.
So let’s just say we step back as writers after we place our character(s) into some fishy ass situation. Now we think from their past experience, do they know how to step away from something that will destroy their life? Have they learned yet to say no to self destructive behaviors? Are they constantly sneaking around and making bad choices? Why would this time be different? If you step in without thinking and don’t allow your characters to be honest with themselves, the future is going to become murky. The rest of the book will be built on this need for control that you have as a writer and you are going to have to delete the rest of the book and return to this point where you stepped in for your character. Which in turn doesn’t allow your character to be themselves but forces them to be what you want them to be.
Letting go doesn’t mean that you don’t care about someone anymore. It’s just realizing that the only person you really have control over is yourself.”— Deborah Reber
We want to be surrounded by people and characters who choose who they want to be because that allows them to be honest with us. When we surround ourselves with honesty it’s much easier to be honest with ourselves and grow into the person we were truly meant to be.
This means that your characters are going to do things that make you really upset. This means that you are going to have to forgive your characters. This means you’re going to have to have a healthy attachment to your characters. If they don’t piss you off, are you connected to your writing? If they piss you off to the point that you can no longer write their story in an honest way, is there something you’re hanging on to that’s hindering your inability to finish? These are questions we need to ask ourselves as writers within and outside of our stories.
Let people show you who they are. Let them write their own story. Let them destroy themselves. Let them become the hero of their own story. They might surprise you. They might disappoint you and do exactly what you thought. But either way they are going to grow from the experience. You are going to grow from watching them. They’ll show you who you don’t want to be or they’ll show you they are someone who you can truly admire.
It is not the consciousness of man that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.
Do you think your status affects your consciousness, does your consciousness come from above, or somewhere between these two?
I read the quote above today and decided to share it with my Instagram family before I did my research. I wanted to know what people’s opinions were before I started digging in.
What does the quote mean?
Well, Karl Marx was a materialist who, unlike his teacher Hegel who was an idealist and believed in spiritual forces, [Marx] believed that consciousness came from social ranking. So, he believes that if you’re in a lower class that determines one form of consciousness verses being in the upper class which determines a different form of consciousness.
I vividly remember when I finished reading Charlotte’s Web in fourth grade. I cried when Charlotte died. Her loss left me in a strange place where I was contemplating death for days. I also remember the day my grandmother died. These two experiences are not the same. The loss of Charlotte did not prepare me for the loss of my grandmother. There is no book that can prepare you for some life experiences.
Literature supports in experiences we are going through or have gone through. When I thought of death without the real life experience of losing someone, the understanding felt distant. It was something foreign to me that I wanted to grasp without gaining it through my own experience. I was left with a world full of uncertainty and hugged my mom a little tighter after reading it.
Trying to prepare someone for a new experience is like describing what an orange tastes like to someone who’s never tasted an orange. We can explain how to eat it and that the peel isn’t the good part. We can even tell them the juicy fruity part is on the inside, but we can’t tell them if they will enjoy it or how much they will enjoy it. They may even find a different way to eat it than we taught them. That’s how I feel about literature. It can explain what to do and give some insight on how to do it, but an individual can not be prepared for how they will feel in new experiences using literature.
I do believe seeing how characters react to an experience can suggest the right thing to do and it may even give some insight on how someone else is feeling. I don’t think literature can prepare us for how we will feel going through our own life experiences. I do feel it can help readers learn to use understanding and empathy toward someone else’s experience by seeing the world from another characters point of view.
First thing today, is to figure out how he will love her. He loves her, that isn’t the question. But how would he show her? Yesterday, it was with a small note, I love you handwritten on it that hid underneath her tea cup. A teacup he picked out for her and filled with black tea he steeped the way she likes it. But, today was a new day and another chance to figure out how to love her. He walked to the kitchen and leaned against the counter to think. He looked around at the bills scattered in front of the Keurig and the pile of discarded recyclables by the trash. He takes a deep breath and fear overwhelms his thoughts. That feeling of not being good enough weighs him down. But she needs his love and so he pushes through it. I’ll find something in the living room. Toys surround the perimeter of the room. The plastic, colorful, and imaginative toys lighten his mood. But, his fears whisper the word tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow it will be easier he agrees. And sits in the rocking chair his wife nurses in. It’s an awkward chair, not his first choice, but it was for her. There’s no use in waiting a voice from inside says. He reaches into his pocket for a small notebook he carries around with him at work and goes to his disheveled desk for a pen hidden by months worth of mail to be organized. He walks back to sit in the awkward chair and taps his chin. Eyes shut tight, he writes I love you because you exist and I love that. Those words are embarrassing to him, but he knows she needs to hear it. So he tears the paper from his small notebook and stands up to leave it on her seat. He walks away and turns to look at the note. I should rewrite it. He takes a step. No, no she will like it. It’s good enough.