Character Development

Since I’ve been to college, I’ve encountered a lot of writers who state that they just “love” words. They write for the perfect sentence, stanza, or paragraph. The juxtaposition of two distinct nouns gets them off. Or maybe they love their words–their written skills being the portal for delivering truth to a mass audience. From journalism to blogging to fiction writing and poetry, they phrase away with gusto. It makes me nervous to say it, but I don’t think I’m one of these writers. I love writing, but I don’t think I love “words.” What I love about writing is its ability to explore the human element–to delve into a character, a relationship, the human experience, the absract with the personal, and the personal with the abstract.  Books didn’t inspire me to write, television did. The words I loved the most came in the form of dialogue. Don’t get me wrong, I like dispensing my opinions with my words, but what’s even better is when I can explain how I feel through characters, their stories, and their relationships. Though this love for characters has always been my biggest passion, it now seems like my highest hurtle to jump. How am I supposed to present myself in my e-portfolio if my writing has always been enamored with fictional characters?

Sure, there are parts of me in every script or story I write, but I feel like that can only portray me so much. If I want readers to see the true me, I want to give them something more personal. But how do I do this and still make the writing process enjoyable for me? I suppose I will have to work on crafting myself into a character.

Though this will be a challenge, it’s a quest I’ve long wanted to achieve. In a class I took on memoir, the main instruction we received was that a writer must make him or herself a character in order for the audience to connect. An audience doesn’t connect with just a voice or just words on a page. They connect with the interesting intonation of the voice and with how personality pops from the words written. They connect with a character strange enough to be interesting, yet sane and organized enough to be relatable. Hitting the balance is a difficult task.

I think I’d like to use this e-portfolio as a means of tackling this challenge. I’ve long wanted to write my own experience in an interesting way, and even more importantly, as an interesting character. I think that the e-portfolio will give me a means to do this. Not only do I want to use many writing genres and mediums to build a thread linking different parts of who I am, but I want to do writing that directly explores who I am. I want to find what makes me interesting yet predictable. I want to be able to inspect myself honestly for a purpose. The things I post to my portfolio won’t be just for my reflection–they will be for an audience that will be entertained, engaged, or informed. The goal will be, however, to take these readers on a journey as I discover what makes me tick and the pieces that best portray that.

3 thoughts to “Character Development”

  1. Levi,
    As one of those self-proclaimed lovers of words, I totally identified with your stereotypes of the first paragraph. Don’t get me wrong-your stereotypes were great…the sexiness of the juxtaposition of two distinct nouns is incomparable. However, I am so much more intrigued by your style of writing than my own. I completely envy your ability to portray your feelings through the characters, stories, and relationships.

    I think that skill will actually be a huge asset as you embark on creating your e-portfolio. I’m looking to achieve a very similar end result with mine as well, as I have never written to truly explore my own self before. I love how you said you want to inspect yourself for a purpose. I may actually borrow that concept to think about how to portray myself as well, so thank you for that!

  2. This is a really interesting point. I know you’ve talked in class about how much you love screenwriting and how much experience you have in that particular field, and I feel like much of what you’re talking about can be attributed to that. I have always loved writing fiction – so I can completely relate. I do not think that this is a bad thing, however. It’s not only unique but also a great way to help your reader get to know you on a personal level, perhaps more quickly than simply judging by style would be.

  3. Hey Levi,

    I think this is a really cool idea to think of yourself as a character when you are crafting your e-portfolio. Figuring out how to sell myself is definitely the biggest challenge I’m facing as well. I think it is hard to convey just a voice, especially if you write with a different voice for different pieces. And it’s tricky because you want to create a narrative, but how do you do that through a computer screen? I think that you are definitely on the right track though and that you can use this experience to, as you say, achieve something you’ve wanted to do for a long time. I believe you’re going to have a wonderful time making yourself a character.

    Good luck!

Leave a Reply