I watch soccer not for the foot skills and bicycle kicked-goals, but for the sheer gorgeousness of the men on the field. Come on, who doesn’t love athletic, good-looking men in short, shorts? This morning, while watching the European Cup, a story of heroism in the face of war was told that inspired this post. When I write, I think of what my characters could do that will further define them. Does the hero help hold the heroine’s hair back when she’s puking her guts out? Does he threaten to jump across the balcony to his possible death to hold her in his arms because she’s cold yet too stubborn to head back inside? You catch my drift.
The soccer players I heard about this morning are my new heros. They lifted the spirits of the German people with their sportsmanship on the soccer field while defying the dictatorship of Hitler when they refused to do the Nazi salute at a soccer game. Their open defiance and win over the Nazi soccer team had them rounded up, interrogated and tortured then later sent to a concentration camp. There, they were lined up with other prisoners and each third man was executed. They inspired by sticking to their convictions through their actions.
For me as a reader, the characters’ actions speak louder than their dialogue. Action further defines the hero and heroines characteristics and keeps them consistent and relatable. What they do in the pages is what has me flipping and flipping until I realize the story is done. How do you as an author capture your characters’ essence through their actions? Any man or woman could kick a ball around but what those men collectively did by refusing to salute took courage.