Your characters should work for a living


Let them speak.

Without a doubt, the quickest way for me to get a running start to dive into a story if I’m having trouble unclogging the word funnel is to slap a character  around and make him start talking. It’s what I did with  “The Mayonnaise Murders” for sure.

OK, perhaps not quite that much violence was involved. Truth be told, if I ever slapped any of my characters around, they would most likely park themselves around my bed late at night waiting for me to fall asleep, and then…

Anyway, I had a character named Vid who I knew was supposed to be a detective, plus I had a general idea of what the story was supposed to be about. But rather than sit in front of my typewriter for hours agonizing (yes, I did say typewriter, ’cause that’s what I was using 20 years ago when I first started this thing), or trying to sketch out the entire premise (not that I’m necessarily opposed to that approach), something told me to just hand the ball to Vid and let him tell me what this whole thing was about. Yep, I turned over the heavy lifting of my novel to a being that doesn’t even exist in the real world, then sat back and watched him work.

Man, I absolutely love  science fiction.

The point here being that allowing character narration to drive a story, or at least kick it into gear, can truly be a liberating experience. Or at least it has been for me. It’s as if the characters in my head are just dying for the chance to take the reins and tell me where to go, so why stand in their way? Me myself, I don’t like getting run over by my own creations. Plus I like watching others do the work.

Especially when I created them.


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Writer and musician.

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