What do I know? I’m just the author.

A great question in a comment to an earlier post, from Judith:

You say you write everyday, but you listen to your characters while you go about your daily life, right? So does that mean you like to listen to your characters first and get a clear sense of who they are, and then write, or you write right away even if the characters are still not fully developed? Basically, I guess I’m asking how soon you
start writing.

Essentially I start writing in order to find out who they are. I start with an impression, a vivid image or thought about them that is like a door. When I open the door it reveals a passage to other parts of them and who they are. Sometimes there are dead ends but I like dead ends. They can be very important in finding out who a character is and what your story is really about. The trick is to trust that who they are will be there. What happens to them is there, but events are just events, things happening is not a plot. Character revealed, tested, altered, that is plot. I’m a firm believer in the idea that I write not to show what I know, but to find out what I know.

4 thoughts on “What do I know? I’m just the author.

  1. And that is one of the reasons I don’t outline characters. I want them to show themselves piece by piece, instead of having to exist on some conformity I forced. (Hugs)Indigo

  2. You come off sounding a little schizo here, Sean. That’s what we think, anyway.
    “What happens to them is there, but events are just events, things happening is not a plot. Character revealed, tested, altered, that is plot.” heart!

  3. I am famous! Thanks lol
    I’m a bit scared again because it seems like it would be emotionally exhausting to immerse yourself in the characters and their world. Jeepers! I’m probably just scaring myself though. If I “write to find out what I know,” then maybe it’d be more like easing into it little by little.
    Or maybe I’m just really sleepy right now, so anything that requires energy sounds like way too much work.
    Anyway, I finished Numb and now I don’t know what to do with myself. How is Numb Reloaded coming along? The Dark Numb? Numb and Numb-er?

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