IDENTITY lesson

What I learned this summer

I have been blessed to extend my circle of friends and my learning through different adventures this summer. In NYC at the RWA writer’s conference I met a lady Jessie G who writes M&M romance. Something I was surprised to discover when she told me she is married straight woman with children. It takes a skilled writer to be able to emote in the opposite genders viewpoint. So male/male romance as a genre preference was totally unexpected. And She’s good!

The lesson that stands out the most from RWA conference was a lecture I attended given by Michael Hauge. He showed me how to get into a characters mind and deepen my story with three main ingredients. These are just what I gleaned after going back through my notes.

Know your characters’ IDENTITY, by knowing their WOUND/FEAR/ BELIEF/

What is their biggest fear?

What do they believe/ this must be a lie, but they think it to be true and it’s logical

How are they wounded? (This is the inner conflict founded by something in their past)

Perfect example= Shrek

He’s an ogre for Pete’s sake- he shows everyone he’s frightful, strong and mean, by growling, posting keep away signs and frightening anyone who comes near.(MASK)

Shrek’s biggest (FEAR) is he will never find love/He’s not worthy

He (BELIEVES) if anyone does get close they will run away(Logical because his whole life people have) Scene: When he was only a child his first friend ran away when told he couldn’t like an ogre or have one for a friend.(WOUND)

To keep from facing the fear that no one will find him worthy of love- he portrays the evil ogre so no one can get close enough to find out who he truly is. Which is his ESSENCE= loveable true and loyal friend.

The identity is: the mask used in the real world to protect him from his biggest FEAR, which grows from the BELIEF, created by the WOUND that happened long long ago.

So that short lesson showed me more about character development than any other I’ve read or heard. Now I am going through my characters and making myself define their FEAR/WOUND/ BELIEF to flesh out their identities.