Know Your Character
When God asked Satan during a conversation in the book of Job, “From whence cometh thou?”; Satan’s answer was, “From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” Then God said, “Hast thou considered my servant Job?”
When God told Jonah to go to Ninevah and cry against it for their wickedness had come up before Him, Jonah didn’t want to, so he fled to Tarshish. After three days in the belly of a great fish, Jonah was told again to go to Ninevah; that time he complied.
When God gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross for our sins—Jesus, born of a woman (Son of God and Son of man), God knew no matter how difficult the task to come, how bitter the cup, Jesus would finish it.
When Mary Magdalene (and no, she was not a prostitute as was once widely and erroneously circulated throughout the Christian community) went that Sunday morning to the tomb where she “had a little talk with Jesus” after He arose, God was not surprised.
God knows all about us. He knows His character, and His characters.
Writing the Vision, Making it Plain has a dual mission: To inspire and encourage you in whatever vision, dream, or goal you may pursue, while teaching techniques applicable in the art of writing.
As an author, you should have some idea—from the beginning—of your characters’ character and their likely reaction within a setting or situation in which they are placed. Likely reaction. There is still, of course, free will.
In your case, this might require writing or typing all the pertinent information about them: age, height, weight, race, education, jobs held, family, friends, Christian or non, their idiosyncrasies, temperament, beliefs, disappointments, victories. One reason is for future reference. What color are your characters’ eyes? Hair? Any identifying marks? The list goes on. All of these things, which can and do, affect a character, and how they respond in a particular setting or situation.
Also, writing this information down will help you later to keep track. You wouldn’t want to give your character green eyes in the beginning of a story, only to end up in the middle of the story with them sporting brown ones (sans contact lenses).
For instance, I have a character named George Landris. He originally showed up (I mean this literally) in a novel I wrote called The Rose of Jericho as a minor character. Even minor characters need an information sheet; you never know what may transpire in the future. As in real life, people we think of as being minor may surprise us and turn out to be quite major later.
This is precisely what happened with George Landris: he became a major character in my next novel, Promises Beyond Jordan. And although I said he would not play a major role in the follow-up novel, Wings of Grace—that proved not to be the case at all.
My point in bringing up George Landris: There are certain things I, as the creator…the author, know about him. Things I might like or not about him (his hair was one of those things I didn’t care for in the beginning—he sported dreadlocks). But I know him well enough to know what he will most likely do in certain situations. (Just as God knows what we’ll likely do—“Have you tried my servant Job?”) And as much as I’d like to make Landris do what I want in the way I want, or as timely as I’d prefer; I allow him to be himself and work it out.
Know your character.
Characters who commune with me consistently, I know more intimately. Do I love all of them—even the bad, misguided, or evil ones? I’ll tell you what I do love: I love the fact that they each carry out their assignments as they’ve been given. I absolutely love when they execute them well. And don’t we, as God’s creations, each have assignments?
There is this song I have fallen in love with recently. The first time I heard it, I cried like a baby. It’s by Israel & New Breed; I heard it on the Alive in South Africa CD. The song: He Knows My Name.
Think about it. Billions upon trillions of people who have come through this earthly realm, and GOD KNOWS my name! And He hears me. You’d better believe I don’t care about religion when it comes to my Creator. I’m totally and completely about, and into, the relationship: My relationship with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
When I’m in a particular setting or situation—good or bad; I can walk in the confidence that God knows me, and that He trusts me enough to know—not only that I can handle it—but that I will come through whatever it is victoriously!
So if you’re interested in writing, KNOW YOUR CHARACTER(S). If you’re not interested in writing, but you have a vision, a goal, or a dream you’re pursuing in life—then get yourself a notebook of paper, get on your computer, whatever or however you choose to do it: Then write your vision, and make it plain. After that, run with it! Run with it, KNOWING YOUR CHARACTER.
Copyright © 2006 Vanessa Davis Griggs
Vanessa Davis Griggs is a speaker and the author of four published novels: Destiny Unlimited, The Rose of Jericho, Promises Beyond Jordan, and Wings of Grace. For more information or to visit her Web site, go to: www.VanessaDavisGriggs.com. E-mail: Vanessa@VanessaDavisGriggs.com