365 Challenge: Day 137 – Character

Posted on Updated on

Character: (a) the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual, or (b) a person in a novel, play, or movie

character

Characters are on my mind today. In many different ways. The characters on my screen at some point changed to a whole bunch of symbols. I didn’t do anything to cause it. They just up and converted themselves. I gave the laptop screen my best sideways glance, calmly explaining that I was not taught how to read hieroglyphics. I casually mentioned if this was a message from the Writing Gods to consider a different language or story, my response would be to remind them I could close this file and start an entirely new novel, one in which they did not exist. I stepped away to pour a glass of seltzer, hoping it was just a momentary glitch. When I returned, all was back to normal. Apparently, when I speak, computers jump. I also realized I had been leaning on the touchscreen monitor when trying to adjust its angle, somehow temporarily changing the font to “MT Extra.” Word of Caution: Unless you are Robert Langdon, I wouldn’t suggest doing this to yourself.

That’s fine. I can take a practical joke. On to the writing. Have you ever argued with one of your characters? (if you’re a writer, that is… because if you’re not, I suspect you don’t have characters… but I wouldn’t know for sure as that’s what I have all the time… these characters in my head who like to start fights with me). Today was all about nicknames. I have a thing for them. I’ve been given nicknames all my life. It gets to the point where everyone now calls me something different and I just have to learn to deal with it. So I think it’s OK to have nicknames. But not everyone else does. For instance… my main character suddenly has three different nicknames. It could confuse people. Or make it easier to know who’s talking without any dialogue tags. Eh, I won’t bore you non-writers. It should be sufficient to say, we are all different characters, depending on who we happen to be socializing with at the time. And having a nickname that is different from friend to friend seems like a logical thing to me. I don’t care what my character thinks about this decision. I write. They listen. If there’s a problem, call Thursday Next to help. {Aside: She’s a literary character who fixes problems with book plots and characters in a murder mystery series by Jasper Fforde.}

Some people bring out the sultry side in me. Yes, there is one. I usually project a vanilla and plain personality, so as not to cause an uproar on the blog, but there’s more to me than just the blogger you all know. I actually can be flirtatious, seductive, sexy, alluring… fill in whatever word works for you. But then again, my characters also need these qualities, so I often need to blur the line between them and me. I’ve currently got two people on a train who suddenly get jostled together, and I need to describe the intimacy growing between them. Where do I start? Experience. But as I’m writing it, I think… wait, now that’s something I would do. Would “x” do that? Hmm… Wait, would I really do that? Fifteen minute reflection on how I’d behave on a train in public under those conditions. Anyways, I find a way to write the scene, return to edit it, then put it down for a few hours. When I re-read it, something kept telling me it was the wrong two characters for that scene… that’s fine, I’m amenable to change. I can cut/paste to a future chapter and write something for the two on the train who won’t leave me alone. Characters. Can’t live with them and can’t live without them, huh?

We all have friends like that. People who are characters, pushing and pulling us in many directions until we just don’t know what to make of them. That’s how I feel about describing myself sometimes. I’m different depending on who I’m with. I feed off the energy between us and find a way to make what exists in our little world at that moment something special. I have a friend who is absolutely hilarious when it comes to all the efforts he will go to when trying to get out of a new relationship. I’m talking after two or three dates, nothing serious. Rather than tell someone he is no longer interested, he ends it a few different ways. He will just stop responding to any texts or calls. He tells them he’s moving to North Carolina. He tells them he is entering the priesthood. But none of them are jokes. He makes it seem like it’s all serious. He’s also the same friend who leaves parties, bars or dinners without saying goodbye. He is there talking one second, says he needs to use the bathroom or is going to talk to someone else, then he sneaks out. While these are two things he does that could showcase a negative quality, he’s so amusing and fun, you always just look the other way. He makes it a fun experience, and for that, I’d call him a character.

Character can also be that moral stance you take or image you project… usually said by someone wiser… “You’ve got a lot of character.” {Aside: Yeah, I know, tell me about it. Too many to handle.} But what makes up that sense of having good character. Honor? Humility? Down-to-earth? Strong? Honest? Old-Soul? I’ve got a few of those under my belt, but I wouldn’t really consider myself as someone with strong character. Not in a negative way, but I think the word describes someone who’s had a harder life, somebody closer to the Earth… gets his/her hands dirty every day, builds things, teaches moral lessons. Not sure that’s me. I’m more the partially funny / partially nutty one who tries to find hidden meanings in things while stirring up a little bit of fun trouble.

So where am I ending up here… a few questions I’m pondering as I pick up new books, shuffle some people around and draft my own chapters:

  • Will you describe your definition of a strong character in a book?
  • What qualities make up an individual with solid character?
  • How many different characters (unique people) do you have in your life?
  • Who’s your all-time favorite character in either a book, show, movie, cartoon, etc.?
  • Have you ever tried to read hieroglyphics (AKA, this rather peculiar post)?

 

RECOMMENDED BLOGGER

  • Today’s 365 Daily Challenge recommended blogger to know is Avonna @ Avonna Loves Genres. As today’s post is all about characters, the connection is Avonna’s love of literature, books, genres and characters. We met five months ago on Goodreads, where we connect on tons of books with each other all the time. We have similar reading interests, as well as some differences, too. But her site is full of so many different reviews — always very detailed and analytical. I’ve picked up a few new books from her and hope I’ve shared a few good ones with her. If you love books, and you read different genres, and like reading reviews, then this is a good site for you. If you don’t believe me, check out the below blurb from her About Me section and then go visit the site yourself:
    • “I am an avid reader, reviewer and genre book lover! This site is for reviews, discussions and articles on genre books. We are all lovers of great stories, but like all readers, we have differing tastes and opinions even on the same book. That is what makes reading and reviewing interesting. I would love for you to comment on the various books reviewed and feature blogs. I will not publish a book review I would rate less than 3 stars. I hope everyone enjoys my site and reviews!”

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

Advertisements

33 thoughts on “365 Challenge: Day 137 – Character

    Roda said:
    July 27, 2017 at 6:50 AM

    I think someone that is true to who they are, knows where they are going in life and fully embraces that journey is a very strong character. Hmmmmm…sounds like someone I know! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    Mischenko said:
    July 27, 2017 at 7:07 AM

    I agree with Roda. Also, for me it’s someone who shows real emotions. ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    zumpoems said:
    July 27, 2017 at 7:08 AM

    This is such an important point for writers to keep in mind — and so multi-faceted.It’s the differences and interaction of character and characters which keeps reading so interesting. Always remember the characters in the Charles Dicken’s novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    Nel said:
    July 27, 2017 at 9:21 AM

    This is coming from my more fantastical side but I like my characters to be strong and driven but have a squishy heart in there even if it’s buried deep. I also like characters who speak their minds but can lie if it’s to suit the greater good. I’m sure you have an idea who my favorite book characters are at the moment but my favorite TV character is Luther. He’s a great detective, the best even, and he’s very intelligent but he often times finds himself toeing the line with certain cases in a good or sometimes bad way.

    Liked by 2 people

    Books Teacup and Reviews said:
    July 27, 2017 at 10:22 AM

    Strong character for me is strong in everything, kind of daredevil, good at heart, ready to help others, smart, learn from mistakes, and can fight for themselves. Basically, I don’t like whiny babies.

    Liked by 2 people

    E. Michael Helms, writer said:
    July 27, 2017 at 11:09 AM

    Will you describe your definition of a strong character in a book?

    A. When writing (or reading), character is of the utmost importance, trumping plot and any other aspects of a novel/story. Forgettable characters are just that–forgettable; cardboard, one or two dimensional, add your own negatives. Well fleshed-out characters (and I’m not talking about mere physical characteristics) CAN be unforgettable if handled right. We need good points and bad; dark secrets he/she keeps hidden; tangled relationships with others; conflict and camaraderie, black & white & shades of gray. Memorable characters must LIVE on the page.

    What qualities make up an individual with solid character?

    A. (See above.)

    How many different characters (unique people) do you have in your life?

    A. I’ve know a few. Most are now (sadly) deceased.

    Who’s your all-time favorite character in either a book, show, movie, cartoon, etc.?

    A. A couple come to mind: Paul Bäumer, the young German soldier in Remarque’s epic All Quiet on the Western Front; and Lew Archer, Ross Macdonald’s indomitable private eye.

    Have you ever tried to read hieroglyphics (AKA, this rather peculiar post)?

    A. It’s like “Greek” to me. 🙂

    –Michael

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 27, 2017 at 10:07 PM

      Ha! Greek. Funny. 🙂

      Your definition of character is very well said. Total agreement!

      Sorry for the delay in responding. Been offline most of the day. Thank you so much for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

    Avonna said:
    July 27, 2017 at 1:25 PM

    Thanks so much for recommending my site, James!!! Love talking books with you, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    BrizzleLass said:
    July 27, 2017 at 3:37 PM

    I loved you questions today, and this post of course another corker, I hope I answer them all!

    OK so a strong character in a book, doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who is outwardly strong, it can be someone who is emotional but powers through. It’s about their inner strength and how that shines off the page.

    Qualities that make up a solid character, depends what type of solid character you want. But for me the ones I enjoy reading have a little bad in them, they aren’t perfect, they will be funny, playful, a little mean, selfish, loving. I don’t think a rounded person can be all positive or all negative, they need to be a mix.

    Everyone I know is unique. Your friend you described sounds like someone I would get on with really well! I used to make up excuses like that to break up with people! I did tell a few people I was joining a convent! 😂
    I have a friend who rubs a lot of people up the wrong way. She is very abrupt and blunt, and can’t be bothered with niceties.
    Then my brother, he never responds when his answer to a question is no! He will just ignore me into realising he is saying no. So annoying.
    And those two used to be a couple…hilarious!

    My all time favourite character is … Oooh now you’ve got me! Oh I know, Wydrin from Jen Williams Copper Cat trilogy. She is a wonderful character, so strong and normal, but spectacularly brilliant aswell.

    Hieroglyphics…me?! I can barely read English! But, being serious…the friend I mentioned above, she can! Seriously the girl is a genius…and an archaeologist!

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 27, 2017 at 10:27 PM

      You do know some interesting peeps!

      I like your definition of character(s). Those are good people to know or read about…

      And we all need to meet this genius hieroglyphics reader!

      A corker… i love it!

      Like

    Run Wright said:
    July 27, 2017 at 9:00 PM

    I’m going to check out today’s recommended blog. Sounds like I’ll find something to connect with Avonna about too.
    Characters shape my feeling about a book. With a few of the novels that I have given negative reviews lately, my major peeve have been with characters. However, as a writer myself, I know that characters can be the hardest part of fiction writing so don’t be too hard on yourself as you create.

    Liked by 1 person

      James J. Cudney IV responded:
      July 27, 2017 at 10:28 PM

      Good advice. Characters and Plot are what make or break it for me in a book. The language could be simple, but if the story and its cast are on point, I’m happy.

      Avonna is great to know – amazing book reader!

      Like

    Avonna said:
    July 28, 2017 at 1:03 PM

    Just wanted to give you another huge virtual hug and thanks for the blog recommendation! 😘 Lots of traffic yesterday and today.

    Liked by 1 person

    Judy said:
    July 28, 2017 at 1:44 PM

    For several years, I wrote conversations between my characters from different books. It helped. They nattered at each other and surprisingly worked things out. I had one character that showed up in the conversations a couple of years before I figured out in what book he belonged.

    Liked by 1 person

    wakinguponthewrongsideof50 said:
    July 28, 2017 at 8:18 PM

    Two people, or characters, need to gave Chemistry. A strong character in a book is one who is clear and present I. Your mind….Sherlock or Langdon. And I don’t remember the other questions!

    Liked by 1 person

    wakinguponthewrongsideof50 said:
    July 28, 2017 at 8:19 PM

    Define solid as in character. I have a lot of unique people in my life….I seem to attract them….

    Liked by 1 person

    wakinguponthewrongsideof50 said:
    July 28, 2017 at 8:21 PM

    Elizabeth Bennett, scarlet O’Hara, Colombo, miss marple…..

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s