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On Writing

“Writing is a solitary sport”, somebody said. (I like writing better, though: I don’t usually sweat when I write). However, to me, writing is anything but solitary. I have so many characters visiting me in my house-brain that I never seem alone. Sometimes characters are good friends, and sometimes I just wish they’d go away. It’s true: some characters I just don’t like. Some, I love. Some are just there to move the plot along or give the reader insight into a real character. Some come and go and some stick around, continually surprising me.

“Surprising you?” you might ask. “Yes,” I would reply. If your characters don’t surprise you, they don’t grow. If the characters don’t grow, the story doesn’t grow. If your characters don’t twist you and tempt you and keep you guessing and wondering, they won’t intrigue the reader. “But aren’t they your characters?” you ask again. Actually, I think that if you consider them to be your characters, the reader won’t take ownership—and isn’t that the ultimate goal of writing? You have to share; you have to bring your readers into your head.

I am continually amazed how much of a third-party I feel when I’m… Continue reading