Writing From Your Inner Cast of Characters

"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts "

—William Shakespeare

Every successful writer knows that dynamic characters and meaningful stories come from the inner self. It is my belief that all quality writing must connect to the writer's "inner cast of characters and stories." Any one can learn structure, but it is never craft alone that makes a script outstanding and original. For those of you who want to be more than a craft person in your writing, you need to have ready access to your inner cast of characters. You have to be aware of your own psychology and your inner world—your hopes, fears, joys, dreams and needs. You can't give anything to your characters that you can't give to yourself.

Too often well-structured scripts end up without having any passion, spirit, truth or soul. The secret to having your script stand out from all the rest is to learn how to put "heart" into your characters and "soul" into your writing. Let who you are be expressed through your characters. Let what you want be the goals in your script.

To create characters who experience personal and emotional growth (the goal for all characters) you must infuse them with your own feelings. Unfortunately, most of us can't reach these powerful memories and stories inside, because we have developed defense mechanisms in the guise of protective masks, that we wear all the time. Hiding behind our masks keeps us alienated from our inner selves and becomes our disguise.

Just like these lines from an excerpt of a poem by Dr. Charles M. Galloway suggest: "Don't be fooled by the face I wear ... I wear a thousand masks, that I'm afraid to take off; and none of them are me "

Basically, by the time we're five years old we wear our masks to keep us from feeling intense pain, vulnerability and embarrassment. We've been made fun of by our peers, reprimanded by teachers, disciplined by our parents and family, and we soon learn to put on our protective mask to conceal the person we really are. We pretend not to be vulnerable or at least not to show it. But the price we often pay is that we lose our creativity, spontaneity, the prime sources of our real spirit.

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