Posted by: Gwendolyn Huber | April 4, 2016

Writing what I know

In this month that hosts the holiday “April Fools Day”, I’ve been focusing on my urges towards foolishness as a writer.

I want the security of writing “what I know” but every time I play it safe, try to create characters from “real” people, my writing leans towards dullness.

That makes sense. I don’t read for “reality”. I read tales that peak my interest, tales where I can’t guess how the heroine/hero will get themselves out of the bind, tales with ridiculous circumstances that could never happen (or at least not too often), tales with larger than life characters who don’t care what other people think. The characters authentic responses to their situations make the stories believable.

As a reader, I see some writers fall into the pitfall of trying to force their characters to react in certain ways (because that’s how they are supposed to react). I as the reader, want to pound on the floor and wail “why are you making me read this”? It’s reached the point where I’m ready to kiss the feet of the author who doesn’t force her character to react in jealousy. Do other people really spend that much of their lives feeling jealous?

As I writer, I will admit to having a sense of what is the “right thing to do” (or at least what some would say is the right thing to do) and wanting to do “the right thing” but I’m also aware that I wouldn’t usually react as expected.

Oddly enough, and this where the foolishness comes in, I teeter back and forth on whether to do “the right thing”, the thing others would say is the right thing to do, or to follow my gut sense of what is right.

Bottom line, my goal in writing what I know is to write emotions — characters reactions — as authentically as I can. I know all about emotions; for everything else, I plan to experiment with bigger and crazier than life.

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