Wrestling with Your Characters 2

Ernest Hemingway-studio in Key West

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On September 30, I wrote Part 1 of this post.  I had to take a break from my novel because I was having an issue with one of the characters – somehow, I was avoiding her.  It was my issue – of that I was certain; however, I had to discover why.  I stopped writing and I got back to the beginning of the story and read every sentence, trying to find the answer to my avoidance.  A month has passed and today I was able to write two chapters.  I have made peace with my main character.

This may sound as unusual but I think it is very common for new writers to confront some personal issues when they are writing the story.  After all, when you write, you are putting part of you into those pages.  Even when you don’t realize it and your story might be fictional – there is always a part of the writer that will leak into the page.  So there is a deep connection between writer and story, writer and characters, because after all, the characters make the story – you cannot have a story without characters.  That connection will deepen as you get further into the story.

In my case, I was being confronted by the issue that I feel that I am nothing like my character – or am I?  In my eyes, I am not; however subconsciously, maybe I was secretly wishing to be a bit more like her.  That caused a road block and made me avoid an encounter with myself.  Sounds complicated?  It probably is.  It wasn’t until I understood this issue that I was able to keep writing the story.

My point to all this is that when you start writing, you never know where the story might take you – on paper, and in your mind, as well as in your emotions.  It is hard sometimes to separate the writer from the story, but at one point, they are separate worlds.  Well seasoned writers know that and many are very prolific in their craft.  I am just a beginner with a long road ahead of me.

4 thoughts on “Wrestling with Your Characters 2

  1. Sometimes I get my character in a rut. I don’t want to write about them anymore. I’ve lost focus and passion. I fret about it. Look at the screen. Get some coffee. Watch some TV. Look out the window. Call a friend. Check my email. Make a reply. Write something else. And then it hits me: I’m the one who put them there and I’m the only one who can get them out. If I’m the creative genius at the other end of these fingers – do something.
    Kenton Lewis

  2. What an interesting problem. I’ve never avoided one of my main characters before.

    I’m glad you resolved the issue, though. An unfinished novel is a dead novel. If we (the writer) can’t find a way to breathe life into it, no one ever will.

  3. True, it is interesting how the mind and emotions of the writer play into the story, sometimes, and how the writer separates himself/herself at some point.

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