I’m sorta infamous among my friends for having lots of whacked-out, creative-but-slightly-off-kilter, usually (but not always) impractical ideas. Here’s my latest:
Rabbi Aryeh Leib Nivin–a motivational speaker/life coach/teacher/rabbi–speaks of everyone having a yeod, a unique life mission with which they are supposed to serve G-d (and people), and a tikkun, a soul correction they have to make in order to maximize their potential (by fulfilling their yeod). Also, a person has short-term lessons that must be learned as stepping stones to reach their yeod and tikkun. This self-development paradigm is very useful for those of us who want to build ourselves (especially now that we’re in Elul, the introspective month that leads up to Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur).
As I mentioned in a post last week, I’m going to be rewriting (yes, again!) the novel I wrote last year. One of the areas I want to focus on is character, really fleshing each one out better and more coherently. Many expert authors suggest strategies about developing character such as:
1) Learn about Myers-Briggs personality types and assign one to each of your characters.
2) Consider what each character most wants, most fears, their biggest secret, and what they have to learn.
3) Use drawing, cut-and-paste, or the like to assign an appearance for your character. Brainstorm their likes, dislikes, etc. Paste such items on your character chart.
4) Pretend to interview your character for a magazine.
All these strategies make sense, but they didn’t appeal so much to me. Then I thought, “Hey! Why don’t I apply Rav Nivin’s rules to fictional characters?” Assign a tafkid, a yeod, to each one, and a tikkun, as well?
So that’s what I think I’m going to be doing. Maybe not exclusively, but I think it will bring a Jewish approach to my mostly Jewish characters and subject matter.
Has anyone else out there tried “unorthodox” (pun definitely intended) ways of developing characters or doing other work that usually isn’t done in a “spiritual” or “religious” way?