Characterisation denotes a character’s appearance, the sum of all surface traits and behaviours. […] Characterisation alone is not character. But the skilled writer knows how to wield this as a tool in their effort to carve a fully dimensionalised protagonist and supporting cast.*
I would rather wonder than know. […] I think wondering is a way of inhabiting and lingering. There seems to be more dwelling. To dwell, inhabit, and linger. I’m interested in those things. And you can do that when you don’t know. […] I would rather inhabit the question, or dwell. For me, that is the place I want to live in.**
Robert McKee’s ideas on how to ‘carve a full dimensionalised protagonist’ help us to imagine becoming fully developing people.
The distinction between character and characterisation makes it possible for the writer to intrigue, to convince and to individualise. Otherwise they create predictable and unengaging characters for their audience.
Mary Ruefle’s words charmed me when I read them as they reminded me of the thing I love most about my work with all kinds of people. There is no end to the wonder to be discovered in people because we can never plumb the depths within each other or ourselves: there is always more.
Wonder causes us to stay, whilst knowledge makes it possible for us to move on to the next thing, the next person. In wonder, we find it possible to integrate our inside and outside worlds: our motivations and passions and heart with our traits and intentions and work:
May the light of your soul bless your work
with love and warmth of heart.
May you see what you do the beauty of the soul^
writes John O’Donohue;
Integrity not only harnesses our passions but focuses our intentions^^
reflects Erwin McManus.
The question is, how might we grow, and help each other to grow, an intriguing, convincing and individualised or unique life?
It is, Ruefle proffers, to dwell, to inhabit and to linger.
Far from finding boring people, we come upon persons of wonder.
(*From Robert McKee’s newsletter: How to Maximise Your Characterisation.)
(**Mary Ruefle, quoted in Austin Kleon’s blog: To Wonder Rather Than Know.)
(^From Joh O’Donohoe’s To Bless the Space Between Us: For Work.)
(^^From Erwin McManus’ Stand Against the Wind.)