Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Human Observation Project: Passions and Beliefs

We all have responsibilities in life – things that need to be taken care, places to be, etc.  But what about your soul?  Do you take time to feed it?

If you love to exercise, do you find the time?  If you have a passion for something, do you pursue it despite the costs involved?

A recent incident in my life has made me analyze the path I have chosen to take in life, and has left me in a complex situation.  My choices, my passion, and my beliefs have left me in conflict with those I had loved the most.  However, I am determined not to let others alter my path, even family.

How can we use passions and beliefs in our writing?

Do your characters have passions and beliefs they embrace beyond all pressure against them to crumble?
                In TIES THAT BIND, Major Crimes Detective Madison Knight must stand up to her superiors despite their pressure to close a case even if it means putting the wrong man behind bars.

Every human has an agenda, something ultimately important to them.  Do your characters?  Do your secondary characters also have these?
           In TIES THAT BIND, Major Crimes Detective Terry Grant (Madison’s partner) is more concerned with saving his marriage than solving the case.

Some people in life, sad to say, are there to diminish any joy we may derive in life.  No doubt you’ve run across a few in your life.  You know the type – you’re ecstatic about an accomplishment. Their response, “oh, good for you.”  Then they carry on from another branch of the conversation.  Do your characters have someone who does this to them?
        In ELEVEN, new FBI Agent Brandon Fisher searches for praise from his boss, a name, but it doesn’t come as he expects it to.  It creates some underlying friction.

Are family relationships strained or conflicted because your character chooses a different path than some feel they should?  Perhaps religion comes to mind, but it can be anything. 
In my MADISON KNIGHT SERIES*, Major Crimes Detective Madison Knight has a mother who would have preferred she became a wife and mother, not a cop.  Yet Madison is married to her career.

If we can incorporate these attributes in our writing, we strengthen our characters.  We make them rich and believable, we aspire to make them human.  Also, keep in mind if assigning these passions and beliefs in our characters we must ask, how dear are these to them?  Is it something they would give up under pressure, or is it something that would make them clinch a tighter hold on?

Keep in mind, too, that our antagonists also need strong passions and motivations.  Without them possessing this to the same exceeding level as your protagonists, the plot risks becoming lop-sided.
Passion
A powerful emotion such as love, joy, hatred or anger.  Ardent love.  Our passion can be for another human or for an object or pursuit.
Belief
The mental act, condition or habit of placing trust or confidence in another.  Mental acceptance of and conviction in the truth, actuality, or validity of something.
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*Two books are currently available in The Madison Knight Series - TIES THAT BIND and JUSTIFIED