Entries in fiction telling (1)

Wednesday
Nov212012

(Un)Forgettable Characters?

As I was taking my doggies outside this morning, I thought about a recent television show I really enjoyed, The Secret Circle. This show had great promise; unfortunately, it was cancelled after just one season, though it started with high ratings. This teen witch drama was a fun ride and I smiled as I thought about it, then frowned realizing the ride was over. I closed my eyes and recalled the characters one by one. I could see the faces of Eva, Adam, Faye and a few others as if I'd watched the show yesterday, but sadly, other faces, such as Jake and Charles seemed to elude me. 

I wondered why I'd so quickly forgotten faces, as I had when I was younger... I remember going to the fair, meeting a boy from another school and feeling instant attraction. But, after the fair, by the next morning, I couldn't even recall his face. What makes us forget the faces of people we're drawn to? Especially in television shows, fiction books, etc.? Is it the character's fault?

So I contemplated the demise of Secret Circle and wondered if it truly was a forgettable show? was the script not deep enough? Did certain characters not appeal to my emotions? Why would I remember one character over another? Is it due to the amount of screen time, or possibly the lack of emotional depth? It made me truly rethink my own writing style, because I never want one of my readers to forget any of my characters' faces.

Then I realized that part of remembering a character is feeling like you are part of that story. Each character, though they may have distincitve features, can easily be forgotten if there isn't some sort of emotional heat driving that character. I try to be loosely descriptive in my stories, such as the Werecat Saga, so that people can play around in their minds with how charaters like Abby Hunter looks. But still, creating a character's features in your mind can be just as easily forgotten as with real life if the character's background and foreshadowing aren't fueled with fire and passion.

I'm just blabbering on and on, thinking out loud, but I'm hoping this wasn't the demise of Secret Circle, as I loved the show and would definitely watch  season two. But I wonder if it was a forgettable series, considering I've lost the faces of half the characters. 

If you're a writer, make sure to give a good description of your character. Show their hair and eye color, build, mannerisms, and put some fire behind their actions. Don't write a forgettable story, and don't let your characters be forgotten.