Character development requires a lot of thought and attention to detail. We writers must be aware of our characters’ motivations, dreams, and desires. This intimate knowledge allows us to determine how they respond to certain situations and how they go about solving problems.
Just like us, our characters have conscious and unconscious thoughts.
Conscious thoughts are the ones they are aware of. For instance, a character can think: Geez, I knew taffeta was a tough fabric to wear, but I didn’t think it would make me look *this* fat.
Unconscious thoughts are the ones they are NOT aware of. For instance, why does this character think she’s fat? What experiences helped shape this self-perception? What emotions are evoked when she confronts something that reminds her of this?
Unconscious thoughts often act as invisible puppet masters, driving our (and our characters’) behaviors and actions. Maybe this character only wears black because she thinks it’s slimming. Maybe she shies away from asking a cute guy out on a date because she assumes he wouldn’t like her. Maybe she “distracts” people from looking at her mid-section by wearing revealing, low-cut tops or super-short skirts. Maybe she acts overly demure or overly provocative in order to hide her insecurities.
So, the next time you’re tapping into your characters’ inner dialogue, consider the unconscious thoughts underlying them and see how that affects their actions.
Remember, these posts are for writing purposes ONLY and are NOT meant to be medical treatment or advice.
If you have any questions you’d like me to address, please comment below, Tweet me, or Facebook me and I’d be happy to feature your question on a Mental Health Monday! 😉
Be sure to check out Lydia’s post on Medical Monday.