Mental Health Monday–Expect the Unexpected


I watched the opening minutes of X Factor last week and was blown away by the first audition.

From Greensboro, NC, the singer came out on stage embodying The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. He wore high top sneakers, an oversized jean jacket, a plaid shirt tied around the waist, and had a hi-top hair cut with stripes razored along his hairline.

After he introduced himself, a country music tune blared–twang and all.

Screen shots of the judges going “WTF?” alternated with the kid waiting for his cue.

I watched, mesmerized, wondering whether or not I was about to witness a disaster.

As it turned out, dude could SING.

I bring this example up in order to discuss character development.

As writers, we want to paint a clear picture of who our characters are. We also want to make out characters interesting. And we need to do that by avoiding stereotypes and highlighting uniqueness.

What’s more unique than a “Fresh Prince Country Singer?”

How do youse guys develop interesting, unique characters?

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10 comments on “Mental Health Monday–Expect the Unexpected

  1. salarsen says:

    Oh my stinking root! I watched that kid, too. I couldn’t have been more stunned when he opened his mouth and that voice came out. He was amazing!

  2. Karen Lange says:

    Wow, that would have been something to see! I agree – interesting characters are made more so with unexpected traits and interests.

  3. roguemutt says:

    What did this have to do with mental health exactly? Though I suppose someone who dresses like the Fresh Prince and sings country probably does need psychiatric care.

  4. Linda Gray says:

    I love character surprises, especially in likable/talented characters. Thanks for inspiring some ideas this morning, Laura!

  5. So I think this post is about identity? Hmm, you have asked a serious and thought-provoking question. My character in my story identifies with sports. IN fact, by the second book, he kind of clings to it as a measure of normalcy while all of these other crazy events take place in his life. So maybe that’s how I choose to manifest his identity.

  6. Lydia K says:

    Just watched the video. What a surprise!

  7. Leigh Moore says:

    Oh, man! You know I don’t watch that show, but I love being surprised by super talented individuals. Makes me all warm & fuzzy. Yes! Expect the unexpected~ ❤

  8. Vicki Tremper says:

    Wow, that’s great. And a great reminder to us writers to deliver the unexpected.

  9. I definitely try to avoid stereotypes

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