A Life of Fiction CLXX

For those of you new to this WordPress site, this site is about me and my writing – and a little about my role-playing, as well. It gives readers a chance to sample my work; and gives me the chance to say a little about the genesis of each novel, or about the process of writing in general.

Put Yourself In Their Shoes: Put yourself in their shoes: that is what a poet does; that is what a writer does. Learn to look through their eyes and try to see the world in a new way. So maybe you are an eco-friendly, Guardian-reading intellectual. Most other people aren’t (unfortunately!). There are Sun-reading, Conservative-voting libertarians. There are Sun-reading, Conservative-voting libertarians who aren’t bad people (some of them are my friends). Try to see why they are as they are, and what motivates them to subscribe to their points of view. If you want to create believable characters don’t denigrate the ‘other’ just because, politically, they are diametrically opposed to what you are. Unless, of course, you really do intend to make them the villains of the piece (but that is a different matter).
What makes them tick? People are not born with a series of points of view. Some are inherited from their parents; (or forced on them, in the way that some foolish parents force religion on their naïve children). Other points of view are moulded as the person gets older. Deciding what your views are on things are part of growing up.
What events caused those people to have those views? Were they bullied as children? Were the views bullied into them? Did they have some priest threaten to belabour them around the head with a hefty copy of the Holy Bible? That might well produce somebody who had different views to the child of a pair of hippies.
If you are dealing with many different characters in you book then it may help to write down little notes on each major character. I have even produced little index cards for each character, with things like age, hobbies, etc, on the cards. Index cards are one way of keeping track of things.
Imagine that you are the main character of your book. You are not writing about him (or her). You are him. You are at some crucial turning point of the plot. Imagine all of the things that the character has gone through in his life. Then pick what he would pick in those circumstances. Don’t pick what you would do.
Next time I’ll be waffling on about some recent books I’ve been reading.


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