Thoughts on Our Environment

A friend of mine once described me as “chameleonic”.  Now, I don’t think that’s actually a word, but I don’t care because I like the meaning behind it.

He said:

“You’re very chameleonic, you can easily change to fit your situation.  You can act one way here, and another way over there, and yet you’re still being yourself the entire time.”

Granted, I never really thought of it like that before, I just thought that’s what everyone did.  Now to clarify, I never meant that I’m two-faced.  I simply highlight different parts of my personality as per my environment.

For example:

If I’m at a house party I’ll act a little raucous and out of control.  Not only am I looking to have a good time, but so is everyone else so why not right?

If I’m at a wedding, I act a little more refined.  Trust me, I’m still devilish, but there’s more of a classy overtone to it.  I try not to go to far, and I make sure to keep my shenanigans tasteful so to speak.

And the list goes on and on.

After he said that, I looked around and realized that a lot of people don’t do that.  They have a one track mind.  Full speed ahead, no changing gears, no changing directions.

Now, to land my plane on this topic this then got me thinking about how I write my characters.  You see, I’ve always felt that a person’s environment affects their personality a lot more than anyone gives it credit for.  I realize that I use that device in my writing all the time.

If I want someone to lose it, I’ll put them in the worst possible environment for that person to keep their mental stability.

If I want someone to fall in love, I’ll find a way to use their environment to mellow them out, or, depending on the character, I might even use it to open their mind to new possibilities.

I didn’t realize how much a big part the setting plays in my stories, and how integral they are at working the stories magic on my characters.  Now, I’m sure most authors do this, but honestly I think they do it the way I did so long.

Unconsciously and because it just “felt right”.  I felt the need to state it out loud like this because once I was conscious of the ways I would use the setting in a story, I found that it was much, much easier to plan out a story.

Think about it like this:

If you want someone to be in a certain environment then you have to figure out either why they are already there as the story begins, or how to get them there in the first place.

I’ll be honest, once I was more conscious of doing this, it definitely helped me not only plan out my story, but how to plan out my character’s personality development.  And then once that became clearer, I could tweak their environment just a little tighter to push them toward the goal that I desired.

It’s funny, how symbiotic everything is in writing a story, and now that I have all of this on my mind I’m definitely going to make more in-depth posts about crafting an excellent environment but I just wanted to throw this out there.

I wanted to get you all thinking.  Maybe the fact that I said this out loud will spur all the ideas on the topic you’ll ever need.

So what do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Think I’m nuts?  Whatever you think, please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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