Wednesday, September 21, 2011

First Impressions

So, it has been almost a month since my last post. Let's just say that what has been on my mind would not be appropriate to share. So be it. Time to move on.

Much is made about first impressions. A lot of us even go out of our way to ensure that we present ourselves in a positive light when encountering another human for the first time. Then we get home and criticize ourselves and the botched initial meeting.

First impressions are few and far between for myself, because, well, I just don't like people. (This is a generalization, so please don't take it as I don't like you. You are awesome!) This week we had someone new start work:

The first thing I noticed about him was his pressed, pinstriped, long-sleeve shirt; it was going to reach 100 degrees that day. His khaki pants had a crease that ran down the front of each leg. There was a folded Wall Street Journal folded beneath his left arm. His curly black hair was cropped tight around his young Middle Eastern features. There was a wary smile on his face; this was his first day on the job after all.

We stood and introduced ourselves, one at a time. His voice bordered inaudible, even when he spoke to me. He didn't hear my name. His eyes were glazed when he shook my hand and he turned his back to me before I finished. I wondered what he didn't like about me. I knew what I didn't like about him.

Now, imagine this new guy as a character in your story. Was this first impression a correct image of who this man is? Was he just so overwhelmed with the situation that he fumbled? Will he go home and beat himself up for coming off in a bad light? Will he go home and beat himself up for taking a job with a bunch of rednecks?

Will the other characters hold this first impression against him? If they do; how long? What will this character have to do to overcome that first botched encounter?

Or, was it a true representation of his personality?

Once again; pay attention to the real world when you are writing in your fantasy world. The world around you has so much to offer your writing. If you lock yourself away in a room, you miss out on countless ideas.