We begin with our foundation—the presumptions, tastes, gifts and limitations upon which we assemble our lives—and then we build.
Piece by piece, everything important is brought to the structure, a keystone dropped into place to hold it all together. Sometimes we are defined by that keystone. He’s so nice. She’s just so wicked funny.
And the last piece added is what we show of ourselves to the world. This changes day by day, even moment to moment, and is very often the least of who we are.
The same is true of our characters.
A great character, fiction or not, is not just his face to the world, but is built from all the various facets of who he is and how he came to be. Rarely need we mention every piece that goes into his making, but each element is there just the same, supporting who our character is and why he does what he does. One piece missing and the truth of him collapses. But if we can build with the full knowledge of who he is at our fingertips, every piece in place, we will have birthed someone enduring.
Photo credit: Anatoli Styf, sxc