Chocolate chip cookies, courtesy of strecosa at pixelbay.com
Two months ago, I wrote a post on why having an English degree kind of makes you a better fiction writer, but won’t mean anything if you don’t write anything. I would say that this post is part 2 to the previous one, but the two make similar arguments for different purposes. This one is for the fiction writers out there who are very “left-brained,” logical, and organized and can’t seem to tap into that “right-brained,” creative side, even when they know they should be writing every day. (Though I’ve actually just learned that the left-brain/right-brain dichotomy is kind of a myth, you get my point.)
And don’t worry. Those cookies up at the top are a part of the explanation.
And the part about the hiatus is going to get explained, too.
Elements of Fiction Writing – Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
As a fiction writer, I am both a magician and a doctor. I pull characters out of my mind like a magician pulls rabbits out of a seemingly empty hat. If these characters I’ve brought forth act in ways I don’t find conducive to the story I’m telling, I press a stethoscope to my characters’ hearts and listen so I can give them the right literary medication, if needed.
In this regard, Elements of Fiction Writing: Characters & Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card is not a character clinic that will help you turn your characters around. In fact, Card spends the least amount of time explaining character creation. The majority of this book, and its ultimate purpose, deals with how to write better on the paragraph and sentence level by incorporating more of your character into narration.
Courtesy of pixabay.com
If you’re like me, you’re a fiction writer that struggles with creating so-called “fully-developed” characters. Rather than living, breathing people on the page, they end up more like cardboard cutouts in a wheelbarrow with no will of their own, waiting to be pushed along to the next plot point.
But, like me, you’re getting better. You know that characters have desires and obstacles that get in the way of those desires. You know that even the most seemingly flawless of heroes have their dark sides, and that they must face them to get stronger (or weaker, if they succumb to their darkness).
I mean, that’s what real people do, too!
Think about it. Day in and day out, you’re faced with a choice: get up from bed, or stay there. Face the world, or don’t. Steal that TV you see in the store, or don’t. We all wrestle with inner and external demons of some kind–even the ones that don’t look like they do.
So, what gives? You know all this stuff about characters and character development, but something just isn’t clicking.
Care to take a guess what it is?
Your character development habits.