Conveying Personality with Personality

I’m playing around with the emotional scenes in my re-write; concentrating more on word choice and word play, and what it is I’m actually writing, or conveying, really, in my work.

So, I’m taking a long, hard look at the way in which I write each character’s personality: thoughts, moods, reactions, body language, and so-on.

In this re-write, (a novel based on actual people and events from my past, with obvious changes to avoid being sued) the two leads are initially attracted to one another before fate screws it all up for them.

What I did was to have him arrive late in his senior year of high school, and at the end of his first hectic but popularity chart-topper day, he sees her heading toward the exit. Impulsively, he steps in front of her, gazes into her pretty, green eyes, and takes her by the arms, planting a tender, closed-lip kiss.

The stars realign eight years later, when the story begins, and it is he, the protagonist, who is determined to make the relationship work while she is bound by a host of issues that make her less receptive than he’d like her to be.

She is reluctant to acknowledge her feelings for him, and he is anxious to put the past behind them.

When he enters the recording studio, her mind immediately takes her back to that not-forgotten day in school when the hot guy noticed her; did something that made the other students react in a different way than she had to the bold move, and that ultimately set in motion the wheels of that cruel fate.

In the present, she’s immediately drawn to his appearance as he had been to her eight years ago, and because she never forgot him. This time around, she has to remind herself that it isn’t a good thing to see him again regardless of the way she still feels about him.

He, on the other hand, hadn’t anticipated seeing her at the studio, so he’s surprised and thrilled. He’s anxious to get with her; wants to play catch-up.

She doesn’t blame him for what happened after that kiss, but he and it are the reason she was made to suffer.

He knows that and made attempts to help, but she doesn’t find that out until eight years have passed.

These first few chapters have a lot of back-story and emotional elements in them that I want to write in such a way that it isn’t matter-of-fact or all dialogue he said, she said. I don’t want a lot of italics, either, but if one of them is doing any amount of thinking, I don’t want it to be written as explanation so much as I’d like it to be in addition to whatever types of emotion are occurring at any, give moment.

The types of emotions that are elemental to the plot. They arrive early and set the tone, hopefully drawing the reader into the story by having them become emotionally attached to one or both main characters.

This means thinking about eye contact, facial expressions, and especially body language. I’d like for it to be subtle yet clear and not obvious or so cryptic that the moments are lost on the reader.

She isn’t inhibited by nature, and yet she feels obligated to behave uninterested because of the convoluted notions about that bad, past incident.

He’s got issues as well, and they crop up in his personality. Impulsive as mentioned, calm and rational, but also anxious if things don’t turn out the way he expected or go the way he planned. He’s somewhat impatient, and he’s got some kid in him even as an adult, which means he’s prone to humor and jealousy without being too childish.

I’m hoping these are written or expressed well enough to make him appealing instead of sounding ridiculous.

Remembering that she’s anxious to be with people, really likes him despite the past, and is glad to have him with her while needing time to settle down and readjust her thinking before giving in to his subtle yet consistent advances. His being patient and understanding while keeping his interest at a simmer until he’s confident she’s receptive to his desire.

Keeping their personality traits in mind helps while leading these two in any scene.

Initial contact, awkward phase, radar tuning of one another’s attitudes, getting a bit closer or warming up slowly, the early romance moments, and their thought sequences. I’m working on perfecting these in my writing so that it doesn’t sound ABC or like the way every other author has written such scenes and emotions.

I’d like to know what you think about different styles of writing on this topic, what you think works best, and of course, how you tackled this issue and made it work in crucial scenes.


About RaineBalkera

Aspiring Author of Romance
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2 Responses to Conveying Personality with Personality

  1. wscottling says:

    I can’t really help with this one because I write short stories which are a different creature than books. However! I’m gonna point you to a book that helped me and may prove helpful to you when it comes to conveying emotion and writing dialogue…

    Even if you don’t like his books or politics, this has a lot of good advice about writing — especially about emotion and character — and the man makes a living at it, so it’s worth the read…

    Liked by 1 person

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