Have you ever had a conversation with someone who wasn’t actually there? You’re keyed up and you want to unload. You talk to them—maybe out loud, maybe in your head. You tell them a thing or two.
Then, in real life, when you’re finally face-to-face, when you finally get your chance to tell them off, the person who has you so keyed up goes off script. They say something you weren’t expecting. They say something you don’t know how to respond to. Everything went so well when you’re playing both sides. But now everything is just off the mark. Your carefully crafted lines lack the punch they had. Some are useless. Some argue points that are no longer in contention. It’s a bit of a mess.
As much as we want to give our characters a script and as much as we expect them to stick to it, so they can offload successfully, part of the reason we expect this of our characters is because we so rarely get the satisfaction in our real lives.
Which offers the great sense of reality? Which offers the great tension and continuity for your characters?
Offloading is cathartic. We want life to stick to the scripts we write. We especially want that for our characters. But does it do them justice?