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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why Writing is Like Being a Kid on Halloween

See these kids?
They're mine.  One obvious little girl and one...
little girl.  That's my Sami.  She's fun, adventurous and LOVES doing anything boyish.  There was no Spidergirl costume for this kid. No way.  Spiderman all the way, baby.

Her choice of costume got me thinking about the similar choices we make as writers. When we step into a main character's POV, we can make them anyone. We ourselves can be anyone.  It's even more transformative than reading, isn't it?  We're creating lives, personalities, quirks, hopes, dreams, fears -- everything!

And so we have to be very careful that the MC "costume" we step into is a good fit.  I'm not talking about writing characters are are mini-mes.  I'm talking about characters you can relate to and successfully breathe life into even if they aren't similar to you at all.

By way of analogy, if I'd made Sami be spidergirl, she still would've been a character, but there wouldn't have been any flair to her.  It would've been second best.  And as authors, we've got to avoid second best at all costs.

There are so many missed opportunities in life.  So many things I'd do over again; things I would've said differently; ways I would have been stronger if given a second chance.  Let your characters do that for you.  Let them be the superhero you wished you could be.  *  Or let them be the monster you never unleashed. 

Just whatever you do, create a character that is transformitive.  Life's too short -- and full of too many interesting people -- to write uninspired characters. Do your characters give you life as much as you give it to them?


Amparo Ortiz said...

Awesome post!!

Never thought of characters as our costumes, but it makes total sense.

Oh, and can I give your daughters a virtual hug??? They are too cute!!

Elizabeth Kolodziej said...

OMG YES! My characters are like my best friends. They always let me live out my fantasies, hopes, and dreams, that I haven't reached... yet! .... through them. They let me see my life in another universe another time with other opps and chances.
I love my characters and think they have really come into their own. Especially the things they are telling me about the second book.
Great POST! Think you touched on a really great subject!

Liz ^_^

Melissa said...

Great insight here. (BTW your girls are so cute!)

My characters are very much a part of me and I am a part of them. It's an interesting relationship and they take me so much further than I could ever go on my own. It is very freeing and one thing I love about writing.

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