5. Know Thyself

5. Know Thyself
Know Thyself - Clip Know Thyself - Text

Know Thyself - Clip

Know Thyself - Text

Myth & Self

CHARACTER & SELF: “The only reliable source of emotional truth is yourself If you stay outside your characters, you inevitably write emotional cliches. To create revealing human reactions, you must not only get inside your character, but get inside yourself” (153 McKee).  “Character is self-knowledge. Everything I learned about human nature I learned from me—Anton Chekhov” (387 McKee). As Socrates would say, Know Thyself. (The aphorism originated in Egypt and was featured in Delphi.)


“The root of all fine character writing is self-knowledge. One of the sad truths of life is that there's only one person in this vale of tears that we ever really know, and that's ourselves. We're essentially and forever alone. Yet, although others remain at a distance, changing and unknowable in a definitive, final sense, and despite the obvious distinctions of age, sex, background, and culture, despite all the clear differences among people, the truth is we are all far more alike than we are different. We are all human. We all share the same crucial human experiences. Each of us is suffering and enjoying, dreaming and hoping of getting through our days with something of value. As a writer, you can be certain that everyone coming down the street toward you, each in his own way, is having the same fundamental human thoughts and feelings that you are. This is why when you ask yourself, ‘If I were this character in these circumstances, what would I do?’ the honest answer is always correct. You would do the human thing. Therefore, the more you penetrate the mysteries of your own humanity, the more you come to understand yourself, the more you are able to understand others” (386-387 McKee).

An idea can be embodied and dramatized by a character. T

Characters are often the product of numerous inspiration sources; such as:

-Personal Experience
-Religious Myths
-All of the Above

The subject of a story is:

-Who – Character
-What – action
-Both of the Above

According to McKee, the “root of all fine character writing is ________.”

Self Knowledge