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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

What a character!

Writers’ characters come from many different  places.  For myself, many have been and continue to be based on real people I have met or written about or discovered as a journalist.  So, when I’m writing creatively, I take the “real” things and “real” people I’ve known or learned about and do fictional things with them, too.

One thing I’ve learned, though, once you have characters to write about, you MUST become deeply involved in their lives.  You have to laugh and cry and agonize with them.  And this involvement doesn’t end in “off hours.”  Like it or not, your creations are with you 24 hours a day.  They become an integral part of your life.  It is involvement that begins well before your book’s first words are written and well after the story is complete.
Your characters grow as your story does and you have to react to and with them. As the award-winning writer Nancy Kress noted in her instructional book Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint:   “You must learn to be three people at once: writer, character, and reader.”   You have a story to share; you have someone to feature; and you have someone to share it with.  Key reasons for why writers like to write.   

Nancy Kress – born this day

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