Sunday, July 28, 2013

Book 2, "People as Places"

I'm really interested in people, their personalities, and categorizing them. I've tried applying superheroes to people, and I've come to know that comic book characters are extremely flat, but for good reasons. Unfortunately, because of that, comics don't retain characters that you can clothe people in. I've also looked into doing it with more complex characters, more real characters, but it seems that people refuse to fit neatly into characters of any type. It makes sense if you think about it too. It's hard enough to find two people that are alike enough to draw a strong connection, let alone a fictional character and a functioning person.

I'm sure it's not impossible to match a character to someone, but it's definitely not going to be comprehensive. People are so much more complex than a fictional being could ever be. Even if you could get past that, you'd have to ask if we're looking at matching the character to how you see the person, how they see themselves, or how they want to be? In my experience people just want to be matched with characters that they like, they're not necessarily doing it to look inward. And that's alright, I know self evaluation isn't something everyone's super interested in, understandably so. We're pretty messed up when we really pay attention to who we are.

So, I've been trying something else recently. While working this week, and trying to find a character that would match someone I was having trouble nailing down, I thought of some stuff about them, and then I thought about Fiddler's Green, a character from Neil Gaiman's The Sandman. He's a place made person, and it dawned on me that turning people into places might be effective. It would at least be an interesting exercise. Turns out, I haven't given setting nearly enough attention in the stories I've written. Places really are characters, and sometimes they can be more complex than the ones that talk.

I also discovered that doing this allows you to tackle describing how you see someone's personality in a more subtle, discreet, and interesting way. True, you have to deal with the misinterpretation of symbols, but even including the inherent flaws that symbolism brings, I think that this method of personality delineation is more accurate than character pairing.

Go ahead and try it. Think of someone and make them into a place. Don't make a place for them, that's not the point, but make them into the place itself. My dad used preexisting places, which worked well because they were more concrete than anything anyone else had attempted, but I remain a big fan of crafting the place yourself. Look at what they like, what they're like, and transcribe it with creativity into a place. The more detailed the better, but keep in mind that leaving things out of a place is sometimes more revealing than including things.

I feel like, if you're interested at all in this, you should make a place for yourself. Then, if you can, get someone else to make you into a place, and have them tell you about it. The way I like to think about it is you're a world, and all of the places that are created in your name (by you or by others for you) make up who you are.