Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Inability To Understand Human Nature

Human nature is a copout. I've been hearing about human nature my whole life. People excuse all sorts of behavior with that little phrase. "Oh, it's no big deal. It's just human nature--"

As if it's 'human nature' to lie or cheat or steal. As if, by token of being born into this species at this stage of evolution we are justified somehow to behave as we please. Unfortunately, I'm no good at deciphering 'human nature.' I find myself, frequently, wondering why it is people act the way they do.

What makes this even more disturbing is that as a writer, my job is to understand human nature. After all, it's that indefinable quality that makes characters have the quirks they do. We create these imaginary people and then we give them personalities and inside those personalities, human nature comes into play. BUT as writers, we have to rely on more than human nature to make a character work. For example, if a character lies we can't just expect the reader to chuck it off as 'human nature.' We have to have a reason for the character to lie, a plausible motivation for that person's behavior in that specific situation or else the reader won't buy into it. But in our everyday lives, we don't look for motivations. We just say it's 'human nature.'

So why do we expect less from reality than we do from our fiction?

A question I've been pondering a lot lately. If I come up with an answer, I'll let you know.

Oh, and by the way--Breaking the Covenants is now available at Amazon! Stay tuned for more information on the Covenants series but first: we're getting back into the realm of Asphodel. I'll have a lot of information on the final Asphodel book over the next few weeks. Let's all get ready for the release of Apostle of Asphodel next month!