People are neither people nor things
The Spring Festival holiday that just passed, I don’t know if it’s the same for you. I was overwhelmed by strange and familiar feelings-finally I can watch movies in a crowded cinema again, and I can no longer meet with family, lover or friends. Nervously huddling in front of the TV to watch dramas… So, the movies and TV dramas released a while ago returned to the center of popular cultural life, and we enthusiastically shared and commented on them, including the adaptation from Shuang Xuetao The TV series “Moses on the Plain” of the same name as the novel.
The article shared today is Shuang Xuetao’s thinking on how to shape the characters in the novel. He is taking the character creation in “Moses on the Plain” as an example to explain Zhuang Dezeng, Fu Dongxin, Li Fei, Zhuang Shu and other novel characters who have been turned into screen images and how their relationship with each other are created. Perhaps the audience is always more easily attracted by suspenseful plots that stimulate the nerves, but this creative talk reminds us that it is the ingenuity in the subtleties and the patience of waiting that support a work and make its life more vigorous.
People are neither people nor things
Written by: Shuang Xuetao
Many readers will ask me if there are any characters I created that are similar to myself. In fact, no such characters have appeared yet. Why do you say that? Some of the characters in the work must have been created by me, just like Monkey King, who plucks out a hair and blows it, creating many little Monkey Kings. So every character actually has something like me, but none of them are me. The three words “myself” are also very complicated. Everyone has many selves. For example, the self when you meet your parents is very different from the self when you meet the person you like. From this perspective In other words, the “self” when facing literature must be a very different one.
It is true that I summoned all my powers to create them, but when I created them they took on a life of their own. On the one hand, this life is shaped by me, and on the other hand, it is created by my subconscious mind. Many times, a writer can’t understand why he writes like this. Writing itself is full of mysteries. I don’t think it’s necessary to figure it out. In addition, when this character is read, the reader’s understanding and imagination of them are injected into this character. Although these characters are objectively created by me, they have integrated the interpretation and understanding of others and become brand new existences with their own lives.
“Moses on the Plain” is developed in units of characters. Through its creation process, we may try to tell you about the establishment of characters.
When I was in junior high school, there was a series of robbery and murder cases in Shenyang. This is a well-known case in Shenyang, and it is a hundred times more serious than what I wrote. The course of the case is that some laid-off workers and unemployed people formed a gang of five people. They booked a taxi the day before, and then killed the taxi driver in the wilderness the next day and put the body in the trunk. , Driving a taxi to rob individual wholesalers or savings banks, after the robbing, abandon the taxi in the suburbs, divide the money, and break up. It takes a short time to commit a crime each time, and the technique is very sophisticated.
This gang stopped for a few years. I don’t know why they didn’t do it for a while. It should be because they felt that the wind was too tight, so they hid first, and then came out again. At that time, I saw on TV that several of them were interviewed after they were arrested. Everyone had a long interview, and there was a short interview before the execution. This incident shocked me as a teenager, because it was broadcast on our Shenyang TV station, and the faces of those people kept flashing there. In fact, I have told this story to my friends, and the content is different every time, because I can’t restrain myself from revising it.
When I was writing “Moses”, this case came to my mind, but I didn’t want to write about this case head-on, nor did I want to use all of this case to write my novel. As I said before, realistic materials are just an inducement , the starting point of this novel is to write a story that takes place in my familiar hometown, with many characters and a relatively long time span. But in fact, I didn’t think about how to do it. I just wanted to write an ambitious and panoramic novella. I decided to write the case interspersed with it, and the case is what I planned to write at the beginning or an element that caused this novel.
I wrote Jiang Bufan first. In the novel, I investigated a policeman who died in a robbery and murder case. It seemed that I also wrote a taxi with a dead body behind it, speeding on the road at night. Zhuang Dezeng written in the second chapter, a person not directly related to the case, I wrote in circles. When I wrote about Zhuang Dezeng, I found that the part about Jiang Bufan was meaningless. Jiang Bufan was just one of them. It was very close to that case, so I wrote him, just like you reach out and pick up the coat closest to you and put it on, but it doesn’t feel right as I write it. After all, I am not a writer of detective novels. I pursue It’s definitely not the case. According to the weather, the coat is not suitable for wearing.
Since the case is not the most important thing here, I plan to start from a place far away from the center, and then I delete the previous ones, and start directly from the chapter of Zhuang Dezeng: In 1995, my relationship was officially separated from the cigarette factory , took an accountant and a salesman to the south of Yunnan—that is, at the beginning of “Moses”, I found that when Zhuang Tezeng began to narrate as an ordinary person, the novel seemed to feel comfortable and entered a suitable tone. Although no plot had been conceived at the time, the atmosphere and weight of the story had emerged.
That case is still a turning point, and Jiang Bufan’s part is a turning point for the fate of many people. Once upon a time there was a writer, I forget who it was, who said, “A novel is like a balloon, you have to ensure its pressure, you can’t keep pricking it with a needle.” We all know that the case is eye-catching, but it is not the main point. The use of this case is not to appear all the time in this novel. It is just one of many events in this novel. There are some life-like things in the novel, and some daily The case may be stronger, but it is also a part of it. It is like the black sheep among the white sheep, but they must be raised together.
The layout does not just take out the case at the beginning, but it is more interesting to reach the case bit by bit, and then lead to more complicated changes in the relationship between people. So “Moses” now seems that the case is quite simple, not as complicated as its prototype. But the relationship between the characters and the connection between the characters have become the most important content.
So how did I gradually build up each character? In fact, this is not a very complicated creative process. The general characters are not difficult to imagine. The murderer in the case, the policeman, the policeman’s parents, colleagues, etc., as I write, everyone’s personality gradually emerges. I write about them as people I know, people close to me. The most important thing is that each of them is an ordinary person, but there are extraordinary things in their hearts, and then let them connect with each other and support them with a network plot. I also said before that the process of establishing a character is not to create a person, but the character suitable for this novel already exists, he is just covered, you as the author discover them in your novel world, use a small The shovel digs out, lifts up from within you.
Zhuang Dezeng is the first character to appear, perhaps because he is closely connected with secular life, so he jumped out first and led the story. Zhuang Dezeng is followed by Fu Dongxin. Fu Dongxin is extremely rare in my life, or basically has no prototype. The main reason is that I have known relatively few women of this age since I was a child, but I can feel that there may be such a kind of person in the world. Indirectly, I have also found this kind of person in literary works, how can I embed her in the novel naturally? It is to form a family with Zhuang Dezeng. The contrast of this group of characters creates a small drama. Using this contrast also opens a very comfortable narrative gap, and many things can emerge as the times require. Li Shoulian was the first character I wanted to write, similar to a character in “Water Margin”. There is no Liangshan in modern society, and there is no shelter for homeless people. I haven’t fully thought about how to deal with him in the end, but the image and trend of the character are roughly in my mind. There are many. The following is the most important group of character relationships, the relationship between Li Fei and Zhuang Shu. The image of Li Fei is also a literary image, because she started writing since she was a child, and it can eliminate part of this thing very well. It can be said that she and Zhuang Shu Fu Dongxin is a character of the same line, but they are completely different. The biggest feature is that Fu Dongxin is conservative, while Li Fei is docile on the surface, but is actually radical in his heart. This is a relatively clear design when I consider the characters. The new generation of characters should have different Things, on the surface, it seems that the relationship between her and Zhuang Shu is a copy or an inversion of Fu Dongxin and Li Shoulian, but it is not. The relationship between Li Fei and Zhuang Shu is much more complicated, and both of them have had a decisive impact on each other’s life. , Zhuang Shu didn’t notice it, but Li Fei did. When Zhuang Shu realized, oh, this person is often so important to me, and that’s why I became what I am now, then it was already the end of the novel. It can be said that the emotion between the two cannot be described as any specific emotion. The two of them are each other’s destiny and the visual endorsement of each other’s destiny.
The image of the characters may first appear in your mind, and then the plot unfolds. The characters and the plot are a relationship that promotes each other. The characters create the plot, and the plot creates the characters. For example, you can first think about what kind of person he is and what kind of things such a person will do, or there is one thing that you must write, so how will the characters suitable for this event appear in this event. If you don’t think about things clearly, you can first think about what kind of personality this person is. If you don’t think clearly, then think about the incident and then improve the character image. When you think about this person, and he moves forward, something will happen, and some things in turn can help you understand this person. Writing novels is a process of continuous discovery. I found out that I know this person so well, and this person is so interesting. , He can do such a thing, or sometimes I only understand him at one level, but it is enough, enough to assemble him as a part in the novel.
Many people may think that you have to know a character well before you can start writing, but in my experience this is not the case. Sometimes you don’t know it, but it’s because you don’t know it that you are excited. Sometimes you think that when you write about this person, you know him, but in fact you don’t. You will deepen your understanding of this person in the process of writing, and he will produce some narrative progress by himself. It is okay to find that the original plot is like this, or the person who originally conceived is not particularly interesting, but in the process of writing, I will find that it would be more interesting if this person goes in such a direction. He will appear in the process of exploration non-stop, and the characters are gradually established in this way. Even the random character will gradually become your main character, which often happens. For example, when Zhuang Shu was originally written, I didn’t know that he would be the most important character in the future. He is just the child of Zhuang Dezeng and Fu Dongxin. But as I write, I like him more and more, like his ruthlessness, like his transformation, like some of his last choices.
But when you first set off, you must have a general idea. It is impossible to start from a particularly ignorant starting point. It must have a certain understanding of this character. In the process of writing, you will constantly deepen your understanding of the character and constantly revise your understanding of the character, but it is not an illustration of him. Fiction is definitely not an illustration of something that exists in your heart, at least I don’t like this way, I don’t like all the work performed by machinery.
Neither a creator nor an ordinary person knows himself that well. The process of discovering characters is also the process of understanding yourself. Many people have independent writing personalities, which are completely different from themselves in life, because the psychological mechanism used in artistic creation is very complicated, and what it mobilizes is far from what you use in your daily life, but many other things hidden in it. Something deep inside you, something you don’t know yet. When you write, it is actually a process of constantly discovering yourself inside. The fun is that you discover parts that you didn’t know before, you find that you understand this character so well, you learn a lot of interesting things about yourself, and that’s the fun part of writing. Some people are addicted to writing, and this is one of the reasons.
(The above is an excerpt,
Excerpted from “The Black Sheep Among the White Sheep”)
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