Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Characters with Worldview

Andrew Huff          @andrewjohnhuff










When it comes to developing characters in fiction, a writer can spend a lot of time defining a character’s physical traits, forming a compelling backstory, even assigning a complex balance of strengths and weaknesses, and yet still struggle to write the characters in such a way that they feel real and capable of carrying the burden of the plot. When I’m creating characters for my novels, one thing I try to keep in mind to help me write them in an interesting way is that each character has their own worldview.

A worldview can be defined as a person’s perspective on how the world works. I like to think of a worldview as if it were a camera lens. Now, if you’re not too familiar with camera lenses, all you need to know is that the photo or video captured by the camera can look vastly different depending on the type of lens you use. In the same way, two people could view one aspect of the world in vastly different ways if both are using two different lenses, or worldviews, to interpret what they see.

My goal as a writer is to try and write realistic characters, and to do so not only will I describe how they appear, or how they talk, or even what feelings they might be having, but I also try to imagine how a specific character’s worldview might cause them to respond or act in a way consistent with what they believe. When it comes to the worldview of your characters, that would be the key word I want you to hang on to: consistency. 




Characters have worldviews, and when a character does or says something inconsistent with their fundamental set of beliefs the reader will notice. “But wait,” I cry. “I need to get this character from point A to point B, but their worldview keeps getting in the way!” It can actually be freeing when writing characters who have worldviews since often the way in which they view the world can make it easier to anticipate how they should speak and act. At the same time, the real fun in writing realistic characters is presenting those characters with situations that challenge those beliefs to see if they either become more entrenched in their viewpoint or perhaps expand their ideas of how the world truly works.




He is a two-time finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) Genesis Contest for unpublished authors (2014, 2017) and won the best screenplay award at the 2015 48 Hour Film Festival in Richmond, Virginia. A Cross to Kill and Cross Shadow in the Shepherd Suspense series are his first releases.

Huff holds a Bachelor of Science in religion degree from Liberty University and a Master of Arts in Christian education from Dallas Theological Seminary. He resides in Plano, Texas, with his beautiful wife, Jae, and their two boys.


2 comments:

  1. Andrew,

    Thank you for this interesting article. As writers, we do take our worldview into our characters (whether consciously or not). It's another important aspect to build into our writing.

    Terry
    author of 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed

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  2. Love the analogy with the camera.

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