Spaceships, monsters and all kinds of action unfold in any and every story we encounter. Reading books and watching TV always hand us the chance to discover the most outlandish activities in any and all settings but despite all of the huge explosions and car crashes, the alien invasions or robotic up risings, when you get all the way down to it, every story has to hang all of those flashy decorations on the central rod of how everything affects the people.
The characters are the important cogs in the narrative machine, far beyond all the glitter of any set piece. If the characters are boring then the story doesn’t fire and we’re left with nothing but the hollow feeling of apathy. As in the real world, if you overlook the human element, you tend to make mistakes. The engagement that the reader feels is so often driven by their ability to empathise with those in the story.
When we make choices in the real world, when we have anything that we have to consider in our life in work, at home or anywhere else, we can never afford to overlook the human element. The human race is what is the driving force in these stories. Even when you consider books like Watership Down, the animal protagonists have often been anthropamorphised to more easily help entice the reader into the flow of the tale.
Relationships between the characters remain as an almost unsung hero of the work. We can munch our way through the action and the beautiful descriptions of landscapes and far off worlds but the second that you remove the strong characters, Poof!, there goes everyone’s interest.
Some people are stronger at writing dialogue than others. Some have they’re skill set tilted more readily towards the world building. I’ve always been very impressed with the dialogue that Quentin Tarantino writes. The lines always feel that they aren’t being forced and it can allow you to quickly understand who feels what. Regardless of the action that takes place in his films, the power that he can evoke from what the characters are saying should never be missed.
I do my best when I’m writing to always keep in mind what these people I’m creating will be going through as the story continues to unwind. I like people so I want to always show that only the short-sighted become blasé with what their characters are going through. I have a duty to each and every one of them to look after their interests and make sure they receive the best possible treatment. If I was to be viewed as the general manager of the book, and the characters my staff, I do my best to maintain a strong HR department for them, and one that looks at them all, even the monsters, as more H than R.