Monday, October 25, 2010

Character Movement

I feel like I've been on a character kick lately, but at least this time I'm taking it in a different direction.

(Note: Captain Film Major would like it noted that he believes one should like the MC from Fargo because she's nice. I feel like he believes that, but it wasn't part of the conversation I referenced. Still, Captain Film Major remains adamant a clarification of his stance was required. I cede on the clarification front, but not on rewatching that movie.)

To proceed to my point...

This weekend, I attended a mini-lecture on movement, mostly how movement and how people carry themselves relate to the characters. It was a very though-provoking idea. I enjoyed the lecture. (Note: We will not be discussing my physical experiences during the lecture, because that probably wasn't pretty. Anyone who's seen me attempt yoga knows that.)

This made me think about how my characters carry themselves. Mostly, about how Amira, from Cordamant's Heir, moves. The first time I conceptualized her character, I imagined her a lot more graceful than she really is. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because ideas are so light and fluffy in my head. But, like a lot of the assumptions we make about our characters, we're not always right. (If you want to hear some more brilliant thoughts on this, click here to be redirected to Natalie Whipple's blog.)

I now realize that she's a little more awkward on her feet sometimes. She's not as good a dancer as her mother would like her to be, or really as good as she'd like to be, since she's not a fan of being bad at things. She does better with a weapon in her hand, but dancing while holding a sword is often considered bad form, even where she lives. It gets better, but she's not the best. And if I think about it more, I can think why she moves the way she does, why she's better with swords than dance steps.

I like that about her, but it's not the sort of thing I'd recognized about her when I first started writing, because I didn't think about it. Now, though, I'm starting to think that I should think about movement more. Movement comes from who the character is, and by thinking about it, we can get a gateway into who they are and how they live. I might have to add movement to my Character Charts.

How do your characters move? Why? What does it say about them?


  1. I hadn't really considered how my characters move before now; I'll have to focus on that during my rewrite. I do know, however, that the pompous ass responsible for most of the screw-ups throughout the book is the most graceful of the bunch.

    One note on Fargo: I agree none of the main characters are inherently likeable, but they are entertaining. For some (myself included), sometimes bizarre characters and situations and reactions (and accents) can make up for a lack of likeable characters. It's just not for everyone.

  2. "since she's not a fan of not being good at things" that. I relate.

    I love to make my characters move, especially in quirky ways.

  3. Great post. I found you on Lola's blog

  4. Nate -- Interesting that the most pompous guy is the most graceful. In some ways, surprising, and in others, fitting. Thanks for weighing in on Fargo.

    Lola -- I'm glad you can relate.

    Melissa -- Thanks for stopping by. :)