Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Developing Character

One of the reasons I love to read so much has to do with reading about the lives of the characters.

A really good author can make you feel like you intimately know the characters in the book.

This is not something that movies can do in their relatively short 2 hours or so. A very few TV shows can do it, but it frequently takes multiple seasons before you know enough about a TV character that you feel like they could be your sister. TV shows can live or die based on whether they can pull you in enough that you care about the characters.

When it comes to books, authors have a much more expressive medium. Sure, maybe it takes two pages or so, but you have a much more complete picture of what motivates the character do take certain actions. It's hard for an actor's facial expressions to convey the full back story of why a character hates his mother, while a book can fully explore the fact that the mother was abusive and belittled the boy all his life, while his father did nothing to intervene, and the character is now gazing at a little old lady while contemplating how he would like to murder her to avenge his lost childhood.

The eyes are the window to the soul, but there's a lot that can't be said simply by passive watching. Actively reading and imagining the story is a joy that can never be replaced.

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