You know your characters. Or, if you’re more of a pantster you will know your characters. They know who they are; they are the geek, or the brain, or the jock (broad strokes here folks). But what happens when they are taken out of their normal environment? A person may be the brain until she’s suddenly surrounded by a group from Mensa. What affect would that have on who she is? On who she thinks she is?
We all have our sense of who we are. This is directly related to the social group we are in and can fluctuate based on the grouping. We might be the popular one with our nerd friends, the geeky one with our mundane friends, etc. The same is true for our characters.
This all came to me at Comic Con last week. I’m a geek. A serious geek. But I was sooooo out geeked by many folks it wasn’t even funny. But at the same time it was GREAT to be around my kind. Folks who understand fandom, who understand all the cool geekiness that is Comic Con. To not get “those” looks when I talk about my stuff. It did change my sense of geeky self.
As writers, we need to do the same thing to our characters. A story is based on what changed in our character’s life and how they took care of it, or completely re-vamped their life. We’re taking them out of their normal context, and setting them in a new one.
So what about your characters? How is their sense of self changed by the circumstance you put them in?