By DiAnn Mills
Characters, like people, need a place to escape tension, stress, and conflict when life’s challenges threaten to steal their optimism. A writer uses a character’s happy spot to add a slice of real life to a three-dimensional character. The character knows where this place is and returning physically, mentally, or spiritually instills peace, happiness, and a sense of safety. This is where headaches fade and muscles soften, allowing the character to be renewed so he/she can continue pursuing a goal.
When a character isn’t able to relax, he/she is headed for exhaustion and unable to work to full potential. (Like us) While denying a character a happy spot could be a part of a plot, establishing what that special place is reveals more about the character.
- A creative person longs for means of artful expression. When something of beauty is attained, imagination swirls and emotions are gratified. A variety of art forms can fill the need: a walk through a museum; adding color to a blank canvas; playing a musical instrument; listening to a concert; cooking a five-course dinner, and the list goes on.
- Connecting with nature and experiencing the quiet world often clears the mind.
- The company of other people can eliminate stress, especially family and friends who love unconditionally no matter what the character has or hasn’t done.
- Simple blessings of life often provide sweet moments of joy—the first cup of coffee of the morning, watching the sunrise or a fiery sunset, volunteer work, or relishing in a child’s smile.
- A character may find his/her happy spot by completing a personal goal. Satisfaction of a job well done may be what your character needs.
- Curling up with a good book or enjoying a movie could be a character’s form of relaxation.
- Happiness can mean a beautiful location as in a favorite vacation spot. Your character may crave the rhythmic sound of waves crashing against the shore or the sight of an eagle flying over a mountain peak.
- Exercise stimulates the brain and allows clarity. Some personalities look forward to daily exercise as a highlight of their day.
- Hobbies are a great way to tune out the world and relax.
- Pets are soothing for many people. Your character may bask in the devotion of his/her pet and the time spent with this special animal or bird.
- Worship has the ability to draw people away from themselves and into pure adoration and spiritual happiness.
Whatever a character’s personality, establishing a happy spot allows the reader to see a well-rounded personality. Use this technique to deepen characterization and add twists and turns to an exciting plot.
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DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; the Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. DiAnn speaks to groups and teaches writing all over the country. Connect with DiAnn here: www.diannmills.com.