Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mystery of Giving by Vivian Zabel

The Christmas season is one of giving, and as I look at the commercialization of the season, I wonder what happened to true generosity, giving, from the heart not just for show. I've written some posts for this blog concerning writing tips, but now I want to address the mystery of giving.

What causes some people to be "givers" and "takers"? Yes, mysteries come in all kinds of disguises, including personalities and character. When we write, we need to take much into consideration as we develop our characters. One character trait that makes characters believable is generosity.

If we look into the depths of our characters, we need to discover if he or she is a giver or a taker. Aren't most antagonists takers? They take lives, property, reputations -- whatever belongs to another person. However, to make the villains more than caricatures, we need to find a way for them to also be givers. Perhaps one murder loves a younger brother and "gives" him money, a home, an education, and/or attention.

In my novel Midnight Hours, the villain's twisted love resulted in some evil behavior, but in Midnight's own way, she "gave" to others. If I explained, I'd give away the plot. However, I know we can all find examples of antagonists giving to someone he or she loves.

Giving is almost always found in the "good guys." But, couldn't we make them more "human" if they sometimes are a bit selfish?

People are complex, and so should our characters be.

Merry Christmas Happy Holidays
Vivian Zabel
Brain Cells & Bubble Wrap
Vivian's Mysteries
Prairie Dog Cowboy
Midnight Hours


Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Interesting theory about villains, and yes, I suspect most of them are takers--but they could have some redeeming qualities.

Same as you pointed out, the good guys probably have some questionable traits.

All we have to look around us, we're all flawed in one way or another.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I agree. We seem to have lost the true meaning of Christmas: Christ's birthday. We should be helping the less fortunate rather than going into debt to buy expensive gifts for family and friends. And murderers do have good qualities, which I wrote about recently at my blog, Write On! Advice from an Editor. No one is completely evil.

Morgan Mandel said...

Somehow people seem to think the more money they spend the more it means they love that person. Shouldn't be that way.

Maybe no presents at all and just celebrating Christmas would be much better.

Morgan Mandel

Dana Fredsti said...

Vivian, a lovely and clever way to tie together writing with a very thoughtful topic!

Morgan, this year is a 'no present' year with me and my boyfriend. It's a 'bake cookies, see friends and relax' Christmas...