~ Recently, I listened to an interview with Bryan Cranston (actor). He was reflecting on his life and his career and he said something that struck me.
”Actors are drawn to the behavior of human beings.”
That’s likely very true. I’m not an actor, so I wouldn't know. What I do know is that this certainly applies to writers. I’ve always been fascinated by the way people behave, especially in certain situations. Human behavior isn’t always pleasant. It doesn’t always make a lot of sense. Many times, to the observer, the behavior seems to make no sense at all.
I suppose it may sound a bit creepy, but for a writer, it’s almost a form a research.
The way that people act when they are walking through a shopping mall alone..The way a couple interact with each other at dinner... The way an older person might react differently to certain situations than a younger one...
These are but a tiny speck of the examples I’ve seen, and that I’ve been intrigued by.
In my experience, a human being is ultimately a mysterious creature. Throughout my life, and especially as I’m getting a little older, I feel like the mystery of what drives people to do what they do is the most fascinating thing about our kind. To me, that is also what makes a great character in a fictional story. Defining what motivates a character to make the choices they do, even if those choices are so very far from the choices we might make (given the same scenario or circumstances). Making the character understandable, and more importantly, relatable to the audience ...that is the secret sauce.
We’ve all seen movies or read books where a central character is a drug dealer, or a mafia boss, or worse. Yet, somehow, we all find some level of relation to many of them. At least enough to care about what happens to their character. We sometimes root for the bad guy, even when he is trying to kill the good guy. Why do we do that? That’s something else I’ll have to ponder. Until next time, Happy Reading!