Sunday, 21 February 2010

Getting into the mind of a character.

In the YA fantasy novel I have just finished, the main character, a fourteen-year-old girl, is given the power to get inside people’s minds. Not only can she read their thoughts, but she can actually step in and take a look around.

To make the idea easier to understand, I’ve made the minds she visits into rooms. So when she steps into the mind of the ‘baddy’ of the piece, she steps into a room of black marble – cold, full of straight lines and sharp edges, with everything safely put away out of sight. Through the window of his imagination she can see the world he dreams of - a wonderful world, rich and beautiful. But when she looks down from that window, she can also see what he chooses not to see – the people he will have to tread over to achieve it.

On the other hand, a character she is close to, who has had most of his memories stolen by the character I just mentioned, has a mind like a dark cave, dissected by a huge chasm. What memories he has left, are strewn around – piles of books, toys, drawings and mementoes. There is nothing through his window but murky shadows and all manner of things that scare him.

Since I wrote all this, I’ve found myself wondering what it would be like inside the ‘rooms’ of the minds of people I know. My husband’s, for example, I suspect would be much like his farm workshop, well-lit and warm, with the things he considers important ready-to-hand all over the benches, and those he’d rather not spend too much time thinking about, safely packed away in a cupboards. Unlike his workshop, though, there would be no dust in this room. Ideas never stay around long enough in his mind for dust to gather. He thinks, he does. That’s it.

As for my own room, well, I suspect it would look very much like my own private space in my house. Full of things I love and value, scattered around in no particular order, covered in dust and a haven to spiders. I’m terribly disorganised and untidy, mentally and physically. I’ll have an idea, then leave it to get covered with the clutter of life, only to rediscover it ages later. And sometimes, by sheer force of gravity, the piles of ideas and thoughts fall on top of me and I have to do something about them.

How about you? What would the ‘room’ of your mind look like?

4 comments:

Medeia Sharif said...

I think the room of my mind would have purple, blue, and red as a color scheme. Also, there would be books and rock music.

Kate said...

That sounds like a really interesting and vibrant room, Medeia!

Meg McKinlay said...

Love the premise, Kate. Seems like a useful metaphor, too. I'm afraid at this point the room of my mind would just have towering piles of stuff everywhere. I'm hoping to clear it out soon and install a flotation tank.

Kate said...

Good idea, Meg. I think I need to install a librarian. Oh, wait on, that's me! I'm obviously not a very good librarian!