My Love Is Like…An Onion?
I don’t know where I heard the analogy that people are like onions, you peel away layer after layer, eventually arriving at the center of the vegetable. I always thought that was sort of a weird analogy, especially since onions aren’t my favorite vegetable. I much prefer Forrest Gump’s “Life is like a box of chocolates…”
I’ve been taking a brief hiatus from new writing in order to revise an older manuscript. I finally realized that I didn’t know my characters well enough to let them drive the story, so the narrative was feeling a bit awkward and forced. Personally, I believe that if I know my characters well enough, then my job as a writer will be much, much easier.
I don’t see characters as onions, but rather artichokes. Every leaf that is peeled away is a different facet of their personality. The outer leaves might be tough and prickly, but soon you come to the inner leaves which are tender and flavorful. Conversely, you might also find leaves that are worm-eaten and useless. People are like that too, out here in real life.
Eventually, you strip away the leaves and the inedible choke, to finally reach the succulent flesh of the artichoke heart. This is where the truth lies. Here you will find the secrets, the hopes, the fears and the dreams of your hero or heroine. (even your villain)
That’s why I prefer artichokes to onions. Onions don’t have hearts.