U is for Uproot
A great way to get to know your characters on a deeper level is to uproot them and drop them in unknown territory. How would they react? Would they cope? Do they do something unpredictable? Do you discover a trait that you weren’t aware of?
I uprooted from the UK to Germany in 2002 and underwent a lot of change that tested my own character. I had to learn how to adjust to my new environment: a new culture, language, work ethic, life-style. Here are just a few lessons learned:
- Develop a thicker skin. Germans are direct and say it as it is without the typically British flourish. I’m still working on this.
- Adjust my driving technique. Not only did I have to learn to drive on the other side of the road but I learned that niceness and giving way is not appreciated. It only confuses other drivers and is often accompanied with verbal abuse and overzealous horn blowing. I have acclimatized very well.
- Don’t expect to be in bed by midnight if you plan a night out with friends. A night out begins at 11pm and goes on until at least 4am. This tested my stamina to the hilt. I failed and turned into a grouch by 2am.
- Get over the need for a cup of good ole English Tetley’s Tea – it ain’t gonna happen. Doh!
- Make note to shop during the week. All shops are closed on Sundays and bank holidays. I love this. It promotes quality time to spend with family and friends. The downside is that this usually involves a lot of eating and is not good for the waistline but sacrifices have to be made.
Do you do any exercises to develop the characters in your writing?