I’ve been reading a lot of Joss Whedon quotes lately and whilst anything Joss Whedon is pretty amazing, in my opinion, there was one particular quote that really hit home with some things I’ve been trying to figure out in the development of the characters in Lonely Hearts and that is PASSION.
“Passion. It lies in all of us. Sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted, unbidden, it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us. Passion rules us all. And we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion, maybe we’d know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we’d be truly dead.”
― Joss Whedon
Passion isn’t something reserved for romance novels or little love stories, passion is something that drives us and our actions and something that drives our characters, as Joss said, “Without passion, we’d be truly dead.” Therefore by creating characters that are passionate, we strive to lift them off of the page and bring them to life.
When I talk about characters who have passion or who are passionate, I do not mean some loved up couple who can’t get enough of each other (if you know what I mean). This is not what I mean at all, you can love another with passion, this is true, but on the flip-side, you can also hate with passion.
Although the word “passion” is often perceived to be synonymous with love, passion is not (and should not) be used only to describe someone’s love for another. The Oxford dictionary defines passion as a, “Strong and barely controllable emotion,” this is the kind of passion that I think Joss is describing, the passion that gives us life, that drives us and the same passion that brings our characters life.
Something I am striving towards now is creating characters that possess a strong element of passion. I want to give strength to their feelings and emotions and portray this strength and passion to the readers. I want the readers to feel the strength of their “barely controllable” emotions. The passion in their love, their hatred and their grief. I want the passion to lift the characters off of the page and bring them to life, because without passion, the characters are reduced to mere words on a page, without life.
In my writing, I’ll be trying to focus on the passion of my characters, the strength of their love, hate and grief, the feelings they experience that make them just that little bit more real for my readers to enjoy.
Thanks Joss Whedon, for reminding us that passion is what gives us life and in turn, what breathes life into our characters.
Before I end this week’s post, here is another one of my favourite Joss Whedon quotes, this one makes me think that George R. R. Martin might be a Joss Whedon fan too,
“People love a happy ending. So every episode, I will explain once again that I don’t like people. And then Mal will shoot someone. Someone we like. And their puppy.”
― Joss Whedon
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