Friday, December 5, 2014

Character Development

In movies and books, character always trumps plot. I am far more concerned with who is doing something than I am with what is being done.

I grew up in a family of six children: one boy, five girls. From the outside, I am sure that we were frequently understood as a unit rather than a set of six individuals. But within our band, we knew who we were. We knew who was the firey one. The sweet one. We knew who was the quietest and who was the loudest. The bossy one. The most independent. Trying to explain each personality was a part of early friendships, the sort of thing you spend hours discussing with a boy you have a crush on while staring out at the dark water.

I felt like you couldn't know me without knowing them. And knowing about them collectively is not enough. You needed to know them as individuals.

As I write my children's story here, I hope that readers understand them as individuals too. It's easy for Sena to just be the girl. For Gus to be the boy. For Arlo to be the baby. But each of them is so much more. 

Sena is shy and bossy. Worried about breaking rules, but never worried about "fitting in."

On Sunday a girl at church, the same girl who teased Gus because of his long hair, made fun of the turban Sena was wearing. Sena just told her, "We have different styles. You're more a preppy style. I'm more of an artsy, weird style."

Gus is serious and charming. He is the sweetest of my children, the one most likely to offer a hug when he thinks someone needs it. He will tell me I look pretty out of nowhere, and suddenly, I feel pretty because Gus is above all things honest.

For the first year of Arlo's life we sang the praise to his mellowness. He adapted easily to situations, rarely complaining. As he has gotten older, he is more likely to let his displeasure be known, most often by furrowing his brow. He will sit quietly for long stretches playing with plastic dinosaurs or Sena's dolls. However, he would much rather be running after his older siblings around the center of the house, laughing and squealing, "Come on guys!"

Other attempts at explaining them: My Tribe  and Likes/ Dislikes

1 comment:

  1. Your children are really wonderful and I enjoyed reading all your attempts at describing them. Isn't it wild and terribly difficult, to describe someone you know so thoroughly? I find it easier with my siblings than with my own children. You have a way of finding just the right few words to shed light on the intricacies of their personhoods.

    Sena's response to her church friend is gracious and perfect.

    Also, I loved what you wrote on my post. Glad to have sparked a little blog-warmth in Tom :)