Sunday, 30 December 2007

Character flaws

Another thing I've noticed about my writing is the people. Now all writing is about conflict. If there's no conflict there is no story. It can be a conflict of people or lifestyles or worlds. No-one wants to go and see a film where boy meets girl and they live happily ever after, or read a thriller where the hero and the villain get on and work together. This journal itself would be rather boring if I wasn't in conflict with myself.

For conflict to occur people - characters - have to be in opposition. They have to be against each other in some way. It can be intentional or accidental. It can be major or minor but it has to be there.

All my characters however are fundamentally flawed. They might be depressed or crippingly introspective. They might be physically disabled or plain racist. They might just have seriously screwed up and have to deal with the consequences. That's fine. That's how it should be.

The problem is that often the women are flawed victims and the men are idiotic bastards. Just to be clear, when I saw flawed here what I really mean is repressed and when I say idiotic here what I really mean is, well, repressed.

It's not totally true, occasionally a man jumps the divide to become a flawed victim. Sometimes a woman is an idiotic bastard. However in each of those cases the character shows characteristics which are decidedly against their gender and the reason they are that specific gender is motivated by the plot. But it gets worse.

The characters that I find myself identifying with the most are the ones that hardly appear at all. They're the ones that exist only to give meaning to the events, or to give the main characters someone to talk to.

Now if life imitates art and art imitates life then this doesn't bode well for either me or the people around me. However since I also know that all of my characters are simply reflections of me I think you're all safe.

I on the other hand am vying between being a victim and a bastard. I am living on the outskirts of the world and it's entirely possible that I'm just a little bit repressed.

My repression is a weird one though. It's an emotional repression rather than a sexual one. I have had far too many conversations with friends about sex to be worried about that and so although I could talk about it I won't. Besides it's far to personal a thing for me to feel the need to share it with the world.

I saw an old friend over the weekend who, having read the blog, asked me if I was okay (hey Matt, you get a mention!). So lets be clear about that one now. I am okay. Very tired, a little bored of living in hotels and desperately looking forward to work calming down, but basically I'm fine.

Beyond that however I feel... loose I guess you'd call it. Untethered. Like I'm waiting for the hook that will drag me back down to Earth and reality.

That'll be work tomorrow then. There's nothing quite like being a non-manager to clarify your thoughts and make you realise how much the stuff in your head doesn't matter.

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