Friday, February 21, 2014

Weekly Writing Wrambling - Settings, Part Two

Another week, another writing post that is late. But it's traditional now, so why stop? Last week, I discussed the work life and its importance in a story. The work life is one of three parts to consider; today, I'll discuss number two, the social life.

The name social life is somewhat of a misnomer, as I am not solely referring to one’s interactions with people. Rather, I mean the areas that are not related to work nor home. This can be interactions with friends, but hobbies would qualify. As such, the social life is probably where the bulk of one's story takes place. Adventures would take place in the social life, as would romance and most personal dilemmas. The social life is diverse enough to accommodate most of the plot.

Regardless, one needs to have a firm social life (all facets) planned out for at least their main character. How do they spend their time? Are they readers, art enthusiasts, or runners? Even if they only watch television, what shows do they watch? Maybe they are lonely, but there is still some minor personal interaction. When a person is socializing, how are they different from their home and work selves? Are they more relaxed, or more tense? Like with work life, it is important to have an understanding even if that is not the focus of the story.

The social life, for all of us, is our escape. It is a place where we usually have fewer pressures and thus reveal more. Exposition is ideal in the setting of a character’s social life. Flashbacks can occur. Furthermore, the social life is the area in life where a person can exert the most control. A high school student has little to not control over their home and work lives, but they have the freedom to choose their hobbies. The social life is a way to express oneself, and an author can use that to demonstrate character traits and flaws.

But since the social life is a reflection on our selves, the character will probably have a new social life by the end of the story. An introvert may start being more comfortable, or an extrovert may cut themselves off. A new hobby may begin. These changes can be subtle, and it is probably best to not be too explicit—after all, you need to trust your audience. You do not need to specifically say that Bob now always wants to go bowling, but you can get that point across by showing Bob’s new hobbies and the consequences from that change. The character arc needs to be echoed in the social life.

The social life can be used to move plot, but also the express the characters themselves. Use the social life to show the readers where the character begins, how the character changes, and what the character becomes. Plan it out, but remember to let the social life evolve with the character.

No comments:

Post a Comment