Friday, December 23, 2016

Harnessing the Human Heart

I'm going to tell you something you may already know: I'm kind of weird.

Not in a "lol, look at me, I don't conform to society's expectations!" kind of way. More in a "just a bit… off" kind of way. People will probably refute that claim, but I'm looking at it from the inside, so I think I'd know.

The core of this is that I have a hard time relating to other people. Other real people. Fictional characters, those I get. Those I can empathize with. I was watching a show, and I was moved. I feel for these characters. They are written and portrayed in such a way that it pulls you into their lives and manipulates your emotions.

And I think I must be the villain of the piece, because I want to harness that power and use it for evil. I want to bend the emotions of my readers to my will. I want to make them laugh, and cry, and throw the book in anger. I want to move them.

But I fear that the disconnect that exists between me and the rest of humanity might stand in the way of world domination. I don't know if you're familiar with the Infinite Monkey Theorem, but it's something like an infinite amount of monkeys, banging on typewriters for an infinite amount of time, would eventually produce the works of Shakespeare. But would they understand what they had written? Could they comprehend the comedy of Twelfth Night or the tragedy of Hamlet? Sometimes I think I'm just an infinite monkey, banging out random stories, but lacking that human connection.

That’s what it all boils down to. That's how you make a thousand year old mass murderer relatable. You show their humanity. You show something inside them that people can find in themselves. Love, hope, insecurity, whatever. But how do I find the humanity in my characters when I'm not sure I can find it in myself?

My most recent main character was a punk rock vampire. His issue was that the world kept changing and moved on without him. Everyone around him would grow up and get on with their lives, leaving him behind as this constant, invariable thing. And that's what I related to. Not his rather human desire to have a home and a place he belonged. Not his grief over lost friends.

So see, it's hard to write relatable characters when the things I relate to are not the things other people would. It's an ongoing process, wherein I pretend to be a regular person, just so I can manipulate the emotions of others like some kind of mad genius. Who knew that world domination would be this hard?

I'll see you Tuesday. Happy Holidays, everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting how a post on not relating to others (and world domination) is one that I relate to.
    Perhaps there is a Villains Anonymous out there...