By Pamela Jaye Smith
Want to create characters that last forever?
Learn to use the same character-building tools used by myth-makers and story-tellers throughout the ages.
Want your characters to be understood around the world?
Use the global system of character analysis and creation that’s based on how we really are – physically, psychologically, and philosophically. Since every person has the same system, everyone will intuitively recognize your characters if you align them with this system.
One of your biggest challenges is to create characters that sound, look, and act differently one from the other. Learn to use the Inner Drives to create unique, dynamic, believable characters.
The Inner Drives chakra system is a rich resource for character development, character arcs, and building ensembles. Chakras are actual bundles of nerves in our spinal column that control the endocrine glands which release hormones, which affect our feelings and actions – and sometimes vice versa.
Learn to use these Inner Drives and you too can tap into the power of myth for characters in any genre or style. My article in the Writers Store ezine gives an overview of the chakra system and its relevance to media.
In this column we explore the Lower Solar Plexus Chakra, home of Personal Power, Self-identity, and Exclusivity.
LOWER SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA
Why does Rocky Balboa train and fight against all odds in the Rocky films?
He is motivated by his Lower Solar Plexus Center. Rocky starts at the Root Center in a nowhere job beating up other people and living in a junky room. He even admits to Adrian that he was nobody. Pursuing the shy Adrian, he rises to the Sacral Center and makes a solid connection with her. Once challenged by Apollo Creed (a very Lower Solar Plexus character) Rocky determines to just go the distance. He applies personal will-power, gains self-confidence, and ultimately reaps the recognition and rewards of having made the shift from a lower Center to a higher one.
And in the more narcissistic aspects of the LSP, as the actress said at the Hollywood cocktail party, “Enough of me talking about me, why don’t you talk about me for awhile.”
MOTIVATION – PERSONAL POWER, SELF-IDENTITY, EXCLUSIVITY
- Arrogant & competitive
- On the softer/weaker side are humility, lack of self-assurance, cowardice, unthinking allegiance to authority.
LOCATION, GLANDS & HORMONES
The Lower Solar Plexus is about six inches above the navel between the Thoracic Vertebrae #11 & #12.
SPLEEN & PANCREAS
They supply and control energy through our insulin/sugar system.
Excessive intellectual activity puts a strain on the spleen and depletes one’s energy. This explains why after working hard on a script (a seemingly effortless activity to anyone who’s never done it) you can be totally exhausted even if you’ve lifted nothing heavier than a coffee mug or a martini glass.
An overabundance of this energy isn’t pleasant either. Outbursts of anger or pique are often called “venting your spleen”.
In Greco-Roman mythology the beautiful youth Narcissus had a raging case of arrogance. He spurned the affections and attentions of all the fluttering maidens, mortal and immortal alike. But one of the rejected girls convinced Nemesis, the goddess of righteous anger, to deal with the cruel boy. She devised a clever curse for the self-absorbed youth. Bending over a clear pool of water for a drink, Narcissus caught sight of his reflection and fell instantly, irretrievably in love with himself. Pining away with unrequited love, he finally understood the pain he had caused others; but there was no help for it. Never taking his eyes from his own reflection, Narcissus fell into it and drowned.
BULLY & BULLIED — The bully crosses boundaries; the bullied have very week boundaries.
GANGS, CABALS & CARTELS
CULT LEADER, GODFATHER, BIG MAN – Followers are usually on a Sacral or Root Center focus, the leader usually LSP.
FUNDAMENTALISTS, HATE GROUPS
POLITICIANS and LOBBYISTS
SERVANT – Regardless of why they are there, the very actions of being a servant imply a lack of personal boundaries, a frustration of individual will.
FIRE & WATER
RAM — Astrological sign of Aries.
SALAMANDERS — Like lizards, only made of fire.
WATER NYMPHS, MERMAIDS, SELKIES
PLANET & ASTROLOGICAL SIGN
MARS — The red planet. The God of War. Impetuousness.
ARIES — Explorer, warrior, innovator, independent.
LEO — Typically attractive and outgoing, also self-promoting and self-centered.
- Emphasis on the waist
- Heavy belts and belt-buckles [Rocky’s boxing award belt]
- Vests that draw attention to the Solar Plexus area
- Warrior outfits
- Fighting, combative stances
- Fists at the waist or hands on hips
- Staying outside the crowd, separate
- If in their own small group, clinging to significant others
FOIBLES, PHOBIAS, FOODS
- Abdominal and intestinal troubles, diabetes
- Emotional separateness diseases: skin diseases, leprosy, eczema, psoriasis
- OCD, addictions
- Seeing auras, hearing voices, other esp
- Low self-esteem, indecisive
- Sweet foods
- Ethnic foods, emphasize separateness, tribal thinking.
STYLES OF SPEECH
- Self-oriented, “me, me, me, mine, I…”
- Hateful, separate
- Opposition – you say white, they say black; you say up, they say down
- Heavy metal, furious rock and roll
- Strident, driving beats
- Military marches
Assyro-Babylonian king Gilgamesh. Greek hero Odysseus, his fellow Greek warrior the great Achilles. Jason and the Argonauts. Napoleon. Dictators, conquerors. Scarlet O’Hara from Gone With the Wind and James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause.
Fight Club, Godfather(s), Martial arts movies, Citizen Kane, Taxi Driver, Wall Street, West Side Story, Ernest Hemingway stories, Gone with the Wind, The Great Gatsby, The Treasure of Sierra Madre, There will be Blood, Hangover, reality TV.
A Lower Solar Plexus character will be centrally focused on themselves or their tight little group and will run the gamut of self-centered aspects.
Because so much of the world’s problems today are centered around some people oppressing other people, stories about the acquisition of a strong sense of individuality resonate with real-world situations.
The move from states and tribes where people are ruled by oppressive dictators to states where every individual person has a voice and vote follows the same pattern as the initial’s rise through the Centers of Motivation. As we can observe from current events, however, it’s difficult to impose individual consciousness on people who aren’t ready for it. Democracy and representative republics, like good character development and good acting, must come from within.
So what’s next after an individual has grasped and mastered their own self? How about expanding out from “me” to “we” at the Aspirational Solar Plexus?
Awareness Exercise – Come up with two examples of a Lower Solar Plexus Chakra character or situation.
Writing Exercise – Rewrite an existing scene to make your selected character on the Lower Solar Plexus. Use at least four of the descriptors listed above when writing about their actions, how they speak, how they look, their astrological sign, their favourite film, etc.
Inner Drives / The Power of the Dark Side / Symbols.Images.Codes / Beyond the Hero’s Journey / Show Me the Love! / Alpha Babes / ArchePaths / Warrior Way for Filmmakers and many more.
© 2013 Pamela Jaye Smith www.mythworks.net
- More Inner Drives articles by Pamela Jaye Smith
- Balls of Steel: Finding Character Motivation, Conflict and Compassion
- Specs & The City: Establishing Characters and ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’
- Storytelling Strategies: Monster University‘s Scary Character Arcs