In inpatient work, the constant stream of patients being admitted and discharged creates a hectic pace that’s both exhilarating and overwhelming.
Before meeting a new patient, we review the chart (to get some idea of what’s been going on) and we also get report from the nurse to see how the patient has been on the unit.
It’s really remarkable how different people look “on paper” as compared to what they’re like “in real life.”
We’ve had extremely violent patients present as charismatic and engaging. We’ve had tiny, quiet, seemingly meek patients admitted for out of control behavior. We’ve had suicidal patients arrive with giant smiles on their faces. And we’ve had psychotic patients insist they are not mentally ill and that we’re the ones causing all the trouble (that tends to be a popular one).
It’s part of a writer’s job to create clear, distinct characters so readers can understand the characters’ motivations and become invested in the characters’ lives.
How do we describe characters? Through their thoughts, actions, morals, values, beliefs, friends, homes, jobs, and hobbies. And don’t we want our characters to be a perfect mixture of symbolism and consistency?
But if a character is too “smooth” they may just turn “vanilla.” (And by vanilla, I mean boring.)
So, like people “in real life,” we need to make sure our characters aren’t always what’s expected. They need to have quirks. They need to have conflicts. They need to have multi-faceted personalities to make them more “alive.”
Ok, I guess I’m done rambling for today. What do you guys think makes for a good (read interesting) character?
Remember, these posts are for writing purposes ONLY, and are NOT to be construed as medical advice or treatment.