Saturday, September 10, 2011

Folding Paper—It’s All About Character

Twain needed to fold a piece of paper this week and put it in his pocket.

You haven’t heard from Twain before. (I have a feeling you might hear a lot. He’s in one of my book proposals, and he has a reputation for yakking).

Anyway, he had to fold this piece of paper. And it had to be folded into fourths so that it would stay flat. This is not because he is anal—he was very definite about this—but because he had to show it to someone else. Who might flip out if the paper was a mess.

Which made me think about Beth. Who is a mess. And would probably lose the form before it ever made it into her pocket.

And Dane. Who would probably crumple it up and shove it in his pocket. In order to make someone else flip out.

And Salva, who would no doubt put it in his folder so there would be no creases.

And Robert, who would fold the paper carefully.

And Aurelia who would argue about having to show it to anyone at all.

Because every character is different. And that dictates action.

As an author, I really believe you don’t have to know everything. You could spend years doing research. And research is helpful, but it won’t tell you how Twain folds his paper. Or crashes his bike. Or pops it over a mud puddle.

For that you have to know

It’s all about character.