What really makes you mad? I mean gets your blood pressure up to where you could really start screaming at someone. Or are you the kind of person who gets really quiet when things start to piss you off?
Me? I’m a screamer. I’m already a loud person but when I really get going, everyone knows and gives me a wide berth. That’s not necessarily a good thing. I’ve mellowed significantly as I’ve aged but certain things still set me off.
When my sense of right and wrong is violated, I get really angry. I’ve worked hard on getting over the fact that people in my section still have jobs. While I’m responsible to a point on at least one of those people, the fact that higher up made bad decisions really chaps my sense of right and wrong, especially during war.
But what about your characters? I see characters who flip out over the slightest miscommunication, turning into the BIG MIS (big misunderstanding for you non romance readers). But if something can be solved with a simple conversation, is it really a Big Mis or contrived for the plot?
Here’s the thing and I’ve mentioned it before: communication is not easy. It’s not like everyone wakes up in the morning and says I think I’ll bare my soul to this person today. It’s incredibly hard for me to admit in real life to my husband that the thought of going back and being a full time mom, soldier, author, housekeeper is a little unnerving. So why do we have expectations for our characters to sit down and talk about it when it’s one of the hardest things for us to do? Our heroines especially get blasted for not telling all, such as revealing a deeply held insecurity that is the cause of friction in the fictional relationship.
And that’s just simple communications. What about those hot button issues (in my case certain folks still having jobs) that send your character over the moon? If you haven’t set it up correctly, when your character does lose his or her mind, it might seem over blown. But it’s a careful balance required in that you don’t repeat yourself (a problem I have both in real life and in fiction).
So how do you create characters who are passionate about things? How do you keep your heroines from looking like shrill harpies and your heroes from looking like they’re over reacting? What elements do you weave it to avoid the big reveal but to have the reader pull back the layers like an onion, slowly and tearfully so that they really care about what makes your character tick?