Friday, May 6, 2011

Integrate Passion Into Your Characters To Make Them More Memorable

Luc Besson
In a recent interview with writer and movie director, Luc Besson, when asked where his ideas come from, he responded how he is inspired by ordinary people who live their lives with passion. 
"You need to have all your senses open. You need to keep yourself in life, real life… [or] you become disconnected and you have nothing to say.
I have so much more fun with my boulanger [baker]. When I go at 6am for my croissants, the guy’s so passionate about his croissants. “Oh, you must try this one, because this morning I changed the butter!” The guy’s passionate.
Watching old people in the park, talking about their lives. That's where it comes from, from food and talking.
I sat on the plane over her with a guy who studied cancerous molecules. He talked for eight hours about it, and I was amazed - the science, and how they separate the molecules, you know? That's where it comes from. It's fed from all these people who come from life."
Besson's description is a perfect example of what readers are looking for in a good novel. Readers want to be inspired and moved by the story that they are reading. They want to love or love to hate the characters they read about. The best way a writer can accomplish this is by infusing the kind of passion that Besson speaks of into each of our characters. Give each of the characters something to be passionate about and clearly verbalize that passion and how it motivates the character to take action, whether that action is good or bad. This allows the reader to feel that connection with the characters and makes them want to continue reading to see how the character develops because of that passion. This passion is what makes the character stand out in the reader's mind and makes them memorable.

Besson also commented on his own passions and motivations for film-making.
"You must be in love to make a film. You must be in love [with the stories and the characters]. So long as I'm not in love, I don't make one!"
I think Besson is really on to something here. If we are not in love with and passionate about our own stories and characters, how can we expect readers to be? So write from the heart, from your heart and from the heart of your characters. Think about what makes them tick, what motivates them and their actions and then translate that emotion onto the pages to make memorable characters and stories that readers will fall in love with.

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