February 9, 2012

Fate, Friends, & Family: Building Characters

Today's BlogHer NaBloPoMo prompt intrigued me: Talk about this quotation: "Fate chooses your relations, you choose your friends."

Fate, if you believe in the force of predetermined events, chooses all. Where you end up living, who is in your class or work environment, who has a baby at the same time... so many fateful things determine your friends. Granted, you have the free will to walk away, to choose not to be someone's friend. But too often, in my humble opinion, people choose to walk away from their families, too.

As a writer, I'm intrigued by relationships. Discovering why people come together as friends or enemies is such an important component to building characters. Put a character in Hell, and they still need to find friends and enemies from the lot. Same for Heaven.

We all have friends who fulfill different needs. Friends we know can make us happy when we are sad, friends who can pick the best party dress, friends who will take your child even when they are puking, and friends who you can see once a year and love like family. We choose friends based on those needs in our lives.

Authors get to play the role of Fate. With any given choice, a character sets in motion a chain of events that affect every future outcome. Whatever path he/she chooses will bring with it more choices, different from any other path.

I'm not sure I believe in the idea that no matter what we do the outcome is predetermined. I'd like to think taking action and making choices gives you more power than the person who sits there and awaits Fate.

I don't think I'm going to figure out the answer to our control in one blog post. But as an author, I can put my characters through the ringer knowing all along where I want them to end up. I can edit and play with how they get there, but the there rarely changes.

All that to say, Fate plays a part in all our relationships. But, in the end, we choose the paths and who takes the journey with us. Or, at least I'd like to think so.

Do you believe we all have a predetermined path? As a writer, do you predetermine your characters' paths or let their choices lead you?


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Rebekah Loper said...

Ah, fate . . .

I like playing fate with my characters, but at the same point, they do sometimes decide to make their own moves.

I know what the outcome is supposed to be, but usually they surprise me in how they get there! So, there's some of 'their' own choice involved, and sometimes I have to MAKE certain things happen. They, after all, can't see the bigger picture :).

Tia Bach said...

Rebekah, Sounds like my children... we try to steer them, but sometimes they have such a mind of their own. ;-)

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