What I’ve Learnt About Character Development, and a New Piece Written

“Things don’t always go as planned. When you begin writing a new piece for instance, you may have a clear idea of just how things are going to go at the time, but there is a great chance that clear idea may be altered at some point. I find that I tend to envision the ending of a piece before I do the beginning, and I attempt to write the story in reverse. Though, there are moments when something revolutionary sparks, something that could change the entire purpose of the piece itself. The impulse to make that change fit perfectly into the story is one that can’t be beat. That is something I’ve been trying to practice a bit more. A bit more letting lose, a bit more “seeing where things go” rather than just sticking to the outline.”

TEACUPS AND TYPEWRITER PRINT

 

 BOOKENDS AND MARIONETTES

She hadn’t quite lost her touch,
Her words still start wildfires beneath her skin.
For she had to mention it once,
As she spent her evenings doused in watercolor sketches
Crushing peony petals between her fingers
Tugging at the ends of her dress.
Much like the flattered text,
Of an old bookend.

He pulled upon her ligatures,
He worked his fingers through her strings
She fell for his work,
For his convenient ideations
His unsettling way of life.
She knew not to write of a man that made sense where there was none
She knew not to read stories of a world much too great for her succession.

But she no longer listened.
Her laced weariness heavy in her eyes
Buttoned,
Sewn shut.
He had a knack for theatre
The honest strange
And,
As puppetry
Met poetry,

She knew she’d never be the same.

Copyright © 2017 Anisa Nasir

All Rights Reserved

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“If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about developing my characters, it’s that I need to have them do the things they’d never even think of doing. I try my best to give them the depth they need to keep the story afloat. There will always be moments where I find myself thinking of an entirely new idea and convincing myself that I can somehow fit it into the piece at hand. Usually, it seems like too much work and entirely unnecessary, but do I do it anyway? You’re damn right I do. That’s because I truly feel like exploring a few different paths the story can take before deciding on which one I want to stick with. (I hate myself just a little when I get into the editing stages). Though, it is when these impulsive changes surface that I truly feel like I’m getting somewhere, like I’m doing something great with what I’ve been given. That in itself is a great feeling.”

Editing takes quite a while. Especially if you’re entirely too hard on yourself. I make that mistake a lot, and I feel as though the story itself has lost its initial spark when I’ve begun to change just about everything that “needs changing” (even though it doesn’t). Take a moment to assess the damage of that “little change” you’re about to make, so that everything, in turn, flows the way you want it to. I’ve been there. I’ve been at that point where I’ve changed a vital scene in one of my pieces, so much so, it throws everything off. 

That is something that needs to be avoided. Otherwise, you might end up rewriting the entire piece. (Trust me, I’ve actually done that before). I’m slowly learning to appreciate what I’ve written for what it is, especially in its raw form. For that idea at the time feels unconventional and innovative, and you have to remember that feeling when you’re going through the editing process. I spend a lot of time cringing as I reread the work I’ve written, unnecessarily so. I don’t cringe because I think it’s terrible, I cringe because I feel that it could be so much better. That in itself can become a vicious cycle. As I’ve said before, there will always be things to change, things you may think needs to be changed, when in fact, they don’t.

Give yourself a break, allow yourself to appreciate what you’ve created. You wouldn’t want to be caught up trying to fix something that isn’t broken (Oh, queue the cliché!) This week means a lot of editing for me, a lot of cringing, and a lot of reminding myself that it may be okay to cringe, but it’s also okay to take a step back and appreciate my hard work. There will always be things to learn from beginning anew, but there will also always be things to learn from what you’ve already put your heart and soul into.

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