On the Periphery

Things change. Life throws us curves and changeups. It's good to have a place to vent.

Monday, September 17, 2007

What's your passion?

Where does your comfort greet you best? Some people feel most at ease in their homes, some at church of synagogue. Still others feel their minds click in a classroom, some come alive at the local pub. For me, my optimum playing field has always been a theater: not a movie theater, but a stage theater, where live performers elicit laughter and tears.

I first discovered my affinity when I was 15--up until then, I'd always enjoyed performing--in school skits, accordion recitals, band concerts. But that year I joined the local community theater and found an entire new world, one where my bones relaxed, my juices flowed, my soul felt free, all in that space divided into "stage" and "house." This feeling--let's call it an obsession, a fancy, a fetish, a consumption, a compulsion--has never gone away. When I am in a theater, I am home.

So what's your passion? More important to a writer, what passion drives your characters? Even if you never fully explore the idea, you must know what moves your characters' wheels. A woman who enjoys fly fishing has some different fires than the one who lives to shoe shop. Or does your character love both? Whatever drives your creation, you must understand it, or at least appreciate and respect it, and write that into your work.

Know thyself, but more important, know thy characters. The more real they are to you, the more real they will be to your reader.


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