Sorry this is up late! Between illness and internet outages,
I’ve been having a terrible time keeping up with things! ~DD
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Welcome to Small Towns, Big Personalities—An Exploration of Setting as a Character
Hello, my name is Cyndi Faria and I’d like to thank Delilah Devlin for hosting me today. One of the topics I’ve studied and would like to share is Personality Types. A writer can use setting as another character, be that as a protagonist or an antagonist. If you’re a reader, watch for the following techniques used by your favorite author.
Of the Nine Personality Types, consider the Reformer (Type One). If this were a real person, their occupation might be as a crusader, advocate for positive change, or teacher. As a healthy One, Reformers are wise, discerning, humane, hopeful, warm, and friendly. On the other hand, unhealthy Reformers are self-righteous, intolerant, hypocritical, condemning, and willing to be cruel to rid themselves of “wrong-doers.” Their ultimate fear is of being corrupt, evil, and defective. Their desire is to be good and to have integrity and balance. I bet you know a real One.
Setting can be typecast as a character who must also consider the thematic premise. In my current work in progress, I’ve typecast my setting as a Reformer who must also bear the consequences of secrets and the resulting oppression (Think: the truth will set you free).
The Beginning (An Unhealthy Reformer And Town):
Enter a cursed drive by coastal town shrouded by both storm and mist. Bedrock below. A restless sea sits to the west. A coastal range overshadows the town from the east. A highway carves a swath and separates the marina’s blue collar folks and stilted cottages from the bluffs’ white collar citizens and estates. The town’s grey hub boasts a diner with peeling paint and boutique fronted by a leafless sycamore tree. Because of the dwindling fishing industry, the one-block town’s corroded lampposts are missing light bulbs. Due to law enforcement budget cuts, the highway traffic rarely respects the 35 mph sign. At the edge of town perched on a rocky crag overlooking the pacific, a lone mission church steeple pierces the condemning sky. The mission bell rarely tolls in celebration of life and marriage, but more often to announce death, forever reminding the citizens of their inescapable errors and the curse that tethers the secret-keeping founding families to the foggy town inhabited by spirits seeking redemption.
Similar to a fictional character, in this four book series, book one represents Act 1 in the series arc. In a well-written novel, a character’s flaws must be shown just as the town’s flaws are shown. Hence by the end of book one, the town has debated and decided to move in a new direction.
How To Show New Direction:
Culminating Act One, the church bell chimes in celebration of a new marriage. The newly painted lampposts’ lights twinkle. The entire community has rallied together for a single cause as two citizens faced challenges relating to the theme and have moved into wholeness, essence, healthiness. Therefore the curse lifts for the couple as they enter their happily-ever-after. The town hasn’t completely changed, however. This absolute transformation will come at the end of the series.
The Series End Results (A Healthy Reformer and Town):
The highway has been rerouted, so the town is no longer divided. Visitors can leisurely shop and enjoy the warmth exemplified by newly painted building facades, the addition of welcome banners, and lamppost floral baskets. Clear skies bless the harbor and fishing boats fill the marina. A farmers’ market bustles with tourists. A new church has been erected near the historic mission, never forgotten but finally released from bondage as the citizens have been freed from the curse.
The next time you pick up a book, will you see the setting in a new light? The next time you drive by an unmapped town, will you wonder about the dynamics, politics, economics, and inhabitants in that town? Of the history behind the original settlers? I bet you will now.
To learn more about yourself and Personality Types visit www.cyndifaria.com/more-than-skin-and-bones-characterization
Happy reading and writing,
Leading the lost to happily ever after…
An engineer turned romance writer, Cyndi Faria satisfies her craving for structure with cursed spirits, lost souls, harbingers, and a haunted coastal town. On and off her sexy romance pages, this California country girl isn’t afraid to dirty her hands fighting for the underdog. Find her helping fellow writers at www.cyndifaria.com, eyes attuned to her e-reader illuminating the midnight hour, or short-order cooking for family and friends while knee-deep in critters as she leads the lost to a place called home.
Follower her on Twitter: @cyndifaria