Fear in Writing: What volume are your characters?

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Monday, January 18, 2010

What volume are your characters?

We have had house guests all weekend. Many of you may be this way, but when other people come into my house, a certain amount of protectiveness comes over me. I automatically notice the way I load the dishwasher (or the way they don't), they way I move about (and the way they do in comparison) and the volume of my life (and their's).

I am sure some of this sensitivity can be attributed to having young kids.  We tiptoe a lot in our house during naptime, carefully urge doors shut with handles held tightly and only unload the dishwasher at wide awake and running-around-bonkers hours.  Then throw in my writer's eye: noticing, dissecting and describing everything - and guests really don't stand a chance.

Nothing bothers me about loud guests.  Any lack of sleep is always balanced by the extra hands and wonderful conversation.  But I do notice how we all move differently.

And this made me think - what volume are your characters?  Do they slam doors or shut them quietly?  Do they stomp around and laugh in loud bursts?  Or do they walk with the lightness of a nymph and barely gasp when hilarity strikes?  Are they like you?  Do you know how you tread?

What is your volume?  What volume are your characters?
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  1. My in laws come for the holidays and spend two weeks (or more like this year) and it is amazing to watch how they are overwhelmed with the kids. They are just not used to having little people running all over the place upsetting the dogs and keeping them from watching their programs.

    Regarding characters, as in life, the quiet ones are the ones that you need to worry about.

  2. I try to be alert to my actions while a guest. My goal is to go unnoticed. Hope I do that. As to my characters, I never really considered them, I'd guess they're probably average, or, I don't write much in about it at all...yet another area I've neglected.

    Best Wishes Galen.
    Imagineering Fiction Blog

  3. Mike- Good point. It's always the quiet ones! Welcome to SoCityMysteries.

    Galen- You are too hard on yourself! I can't say I had thought about it before today...

    As for guests, these friends were absolutely fabulous! It's just that we are so sensitive as parents, and I am so attuned right now as a writer...Always looking for better characterization techniques.

  4. My characters change their volume depending on their mood or (perhaps) if there's been brandy involved. Strong feelings make for loud characters.

    On a more personal note, I never worried too much about volume when my kids were little. I read something somewhere right after I had my first that said, in essence, continue your life. Vacuum, etc. Kids adjust to normal noises and if you always keep it unnaturally quiet they'll have trouble when it's not. It worked for me. They continue to sleep like logs.


  5. I'm kind of loud and obnoxious, so all my characters are loud and obnoxious. Well, I'm not always loud and obnoxious. Sometimes I'm quiet and reserved. So sometimes my characters are quiet and reserved. Wait, I suppose I'm only loud and obnoxious on the internet. Although, can one really be loud on the internet? Oh, I dunno.

    Um... where was I going with this? I think all I wanted to say was, "Nice post, Michele! Quite thought-provoking." Maybe I'll just stick with that.

  6. Ha! We've had some loud guests lately. It's a whole different way of living!

    I think Myrtle and Lulu are both fairly quiet. Interesting! I hadn't thought of that before...

    Mystery Writing is Murder
    Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

  7. I love this topic and the idea of "volume". I always think my husband wants to talk my ear off when I get home from work. I prefer quiet. But when my brother came to stay for two weeks we learned what loud was--and agitated. He could never sit still or read, always pacing around, going out for walks. And he was supposed to be on vacation! I'd hate to see him really stressed.
    That said, I'm quiet except for my footfalls. I'm only 5 ft. but stomp around like a storm trooper. I want to think about this for my book characters. Very interesting...

  8. I've got one loud & one soft mc. I hand' thtought of them that way before - nice!!

  9. You all responded fantastically and I would love to get in on the conversation, but the "volume" today has left me with a headache and a real need for sleep...Until tomorrow!

  10. Hmm, I like the quiet. A silent room to write. A peaceful spot in the bush.

    My characters vary I hope. From the boisterous life of the party types, to little mice that tiptoe around.
    But I agree with Mike, you have to watch out for the quiet ones,

  11. Good point in my WIP I have a loud sister and a quiet sister that sneaks up...

  12. My MC is quiet, kind of like me.

  13. I must point out that it is interesting how many of you compared your MCs to yourselves! Just a thought...