Weapons for Writers: Compassionate Water

Writer and comic book creator, Alan Moore, has a unique view on writing. He thinks writers should equip themselves with four weapons before trekking into literary battle. Previous posts covered the first two weapons, the sword of discernment and the pentacle of earthly knowledge. His third weapon related to the Tarot suit of cups and the core element of water. He encourages everyone to take up these weapons for writers and fully immerse themselves in the mindset and emotions of their characters, even if those characters are vile and depraved.

Put on Those Shoes

As a writer, the most important weapon in your arsenal is your ability to create compelling, fully realized characters. But you need to be willing to put yourself into the roles and thoughts of the characters you are portraying, even if they are vastly different from yourself.

At the heart of this process is compassion. To create characters that feel real and authentic, you must understand their motivations, fears, and desires. This means putting yourself in their shoes and seeing the world from their perspective.

Of course, this can be a hefty challenge, especially if you’re creating characters who are very different from yourself. It’s important to approach this process with an open mind and a willingness to learn. You may need to do research, talk to people with different experiences, or simply spend time reflecting on what it might be like to live in someone else’s shoes.

Compassion Doesn’t Mean Approval

Compassion is not the same as approval. You can be compassionate towards your characters without condoning their actions or beliefs. In fact, creating characters who are flawed and imperfect can make for more interesting and nuanced storytelling.

To get into the mind and mindset of your characters, you must immerse yourself in their world. Think about the sights, sounds, smells, and emotions that those characters might experience. Consider their relationships with other characters and how those relationships might shape their actions and beliefs.

In the end, the key to creating compelling, fully realized characters is to approach the process with curiosity, empathy, and an open mind. Keep that cup of compassion near to you as your work, ready to take a sip. Then you can create stories with truly impactful and memorable. 

Tim Kane

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