This week, I started talking about how to create humanized characters, by dropping rational thought and focusing on pain, emotion, and irrational thought.

The power of discovering these elements is that they carry forward in our life. Pain doesn’t just go away. If we have an irrational thought amid a painful experience, that will revisit us in the future. If we feel guilty for disappointing our father, that guilt will arise in the coming years while interacting with him.

Rational thoughts don’t work the same. They don’t have staying power.

And stories are about staying power, about emotions that are lingering that we don’t know how to face. So when I’m scene creating, it’s best to focus on these elements that will carry forward, stick around in my character’s life, revisit him. Scene building, I ask, how does this emotion carry forward? How does this pain revisit him? And quickly more events appear, quickly my character grows and becomes more human.