Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Nancy Kress: "Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint"

This is a good, solid book on writing. I have a pile of them in my room. Some of them I almost never pick up, some of them I come back to again and again. I haven't read every word in this one, but so far my favorite parts are brief sections in the beginning in the end. The section "Writing and the Multiple Personality" talks about how a writer has to be three people at once: the character, a writer, and a reader. This idea really hit a chord with me. It matches well with my experience of writing, and isn't something that I've seen discussed a lot.

I also really enjoyed the last chapter, in which she adds the idea of a fourth role: editor. And addresses how to actually like the writing process. She mentions warmup activities, regular writing, finding the right time, and then adds: "The most important thing, however, is your attitude toward your characters. Writing is far more likely to be enjoyable if you are so interested in them that they take on lives of their own. Entering fully into their stories, rather than staying preoccupied with yourself ("How am I doing? Is this any good? Where can I market it?") makes the entire writing process feel lighter, more interesting, and more rewarding."

I loved that. Create character that you are interested in and like, and then writing is like spending time with friends...


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