AH! The kitchen has called! And I finally answered! … Alphonse whacked me with a spoon as I entered, for I have been gone far too long, and he was rather displeased with me.
But I have returned to teach you another lesson in soup!
Alright. So. We have discussed many aspects yet, but there are still a few more to go over. And I consider this one of the most important aspects of making the soup. The others were rather… general. But this… This is what makes your soup happen. The kind of soup it is and will be is decided by this… This is the medium. The glue.
This, my friends. Is the broth.
Tomato based soup has… tomato based broth.
And the national soup of Soup-land, is most definitely chicken noodle soup. At least the Soup-land I know of.
CHICKEN BROTH. Woo-hoo! It’s the awesome of the awesome.
Okay. Before I get carried away with the soupy-ness of it all… hehe… TO THE STORY SOUP!
We have a black cauldron. We have various ingredients. We have gotten through the jelly. And we are still alive.
But this particular part of the story is always there. This is what makes the story happen, guys. This is what literally holds in together. This is why we READ books. Why we watch movies.
This is why we eat the soup.
We remember the characters from a book long after we have forgotten the brilliant sub plots and denouements. The characters stick with us.
Beren and Luthien (two of my absolute and forever favorites)
…. and if you have read/seen the Lord of the Rings. You will never forget. Never ever.
Samwise Gamgee. The BEST ally. EVER.
There are so so so so many characters! And I could list hundreds, and you’d be like. Yup. I remember those. Point?
The point is… People relate to people! Whether they are real are not! (And I could do a list of real people who stick with us just as much as those characters do)
Characters are to stories like broth is to soup. It’s what holds the story together. They are the one element of the story that the reader … or soup eater 😉 … is always getting.
I’ve read novels where the author did not go into depth IN the novel about that character… so we never found out much about them. But you could tell the author knew where they had been, and what they had been through. And other characters did too.
There was an unrevealed depth to them, and it was quite effective.
Shallow characters. Well. A weak broth doesn’t give much nourishment, now does it?
Take the time to make a rich broth.
Take the time to have real, deep characters. That people will care about. That people will remember. That people would want to meet.
If you need help with character development, just shoot me an email. I can help with that one. I know a lot of other writers who could help, too. ‘tis what we do. 😉
It’s important that your characters are real though. That they have flaws. Goals. Dreams. That they’re human. (unless, of course, they are elves… or orcs… or ents…)
Those deep characters… Those are the ones who make us laugh… and bring a new aspect to our own mundane lives… and cheer us up… and make us cry. They are the characters we will never forget, because it was that character’s story that changed our lives. It was that character that changed us.
I have said before that stories change lives.
A story is about a character.
People change people.
More so than your story itself… it is the struggle of that individual, or group… Their love, their hate, their failures, and their successes… It’s the glimpse into someone else’s life that changes our own hearts.
So. Again. What kind of soup do you want to make?
What kind of story do you want to tell?
I hope it is a soup that will be nourishing.
I hope it is a story that will change the world.