Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I Hate To Admit It...

I hate to admit any time you're right, Charles, but I have to say you're rrrrrrrrr..... I can't get it out.  Using characters that inspire me is absolutely essential.  If I'm writing a novel, those characters will be with me well over a year.  Nobody, least of all I, wants to go to the computer every morning and pick up on a story about someone they don't like very much.  And to paraphrase my retired editor, Susan Hirschman, "Give me a character I like and I'm more likely to give you a contract you like."  The point being, I believe, that if I create a character I like, that affection will translate to the reader.  Think of the number of stories you've read about characters you might not connect with in real life, but that you feel a strong connection with because of the way the author presents them.  Which brings me to a related point.  When I started working at the mental health center in Spokane, many many years ago, I believed I'd only work there for a short time because after all, I would be working with them.  My expertise was supposed to be with teenagers and adults (more likely adult males).  Well, teenagers who have been abused are usually no fun and adults who abuse them are even less fun.  Or at least that's what I thought.  What I discovered was, I would never work with a client who wasn't like me in some way, and often in ways I didn't like to admit.  It turned out I had to embrace those similarities to work effectively with them.  Turned out it was the same way with characters, particularly secondary characters.  The more I knew about the humanity of those clients the more help I was, and the more I knew about the humanity of those characters, the better they served me in story.  Perfect symmetry.  As opposed to perfect cemetery.  So, finding those characters I understand at an emotional - and nuanced - level, is necessary for me to write a believable story.  Much of this explains why I've never been able to write a story about you. 

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