I’ve written a couple of blogs about Spiritual Gifts. These gifts I talked about using in day to day life, but they are also the kind of tools one can use to build character. But they are not the only tools available. There is fame, for instance.
In my line of work I meet people who’s sole goal in life is to be famous. There is money in fame, you know. When I was deciding on a path to walk, my perspective then was fame had too many compromises to purse as a life. My life now has seen validation of that view. In fact, the way I look at it now, fame is less of a tool and more of a test of character.
Honor and duty might be better examples of character building tools and they go hand in hand with community. The Marine Corps is built on honor and duty. If you do a good job, you get advanced in that community with promotions. Marines are built the way they are because of the tests they face.
That’s the whole reason for shaping character, don’t you think? So one can be prepared for the tests of life? I think that is one of the best aspects of writing. I get to build the character of the people in my book and then test them. Sort of the same reason I like acting, but when I write I get to create the stage as well.
With historical fiction, however, the stage is set and maybe some of the major players. Then it becomes important to create a character that would explain the historical actions of the player. If there is a historical event it’s great to use that as a setting, but not such a good idea to use that as the test of character. I mean, for it to mean something in a novel, the result of the test should have some effect on the outcome, right? Which would mean my fictional character had an effect on a historical event.
Of course, the only reason to have rules is to break them.
In the story I wrote I was amazed to discover research. By that I mean there is not a lot of actual historical material from the period I chose to write about. What I was looking for was daily life kind of things. And I chose to write about the Romans and they set a new standard in record keeping. What is fun is the level of detail found in what records exist. The research material were more pages than the finished book.
What I did was create a player very successful in his world with a respected, solid character. I then had him face something he was unprepared for. I’m not giving a spoiler even though you know most of the story line, but now I’m thinking about how the test faced affects the character developed.
There’s another book.