Posted by: Kerry Gans | October 31, 2017

Every Day Is Halloween

Happy Halloween! Everyone be safe when trick or treating or driving. And stay warm–it’s supposed to be chilly around here.

Halloween is a time when children and adults alike dress up and pretend to be something else. It’s a bit of fun (and sometimes fright), and most people are concerned only with their appearance. Does their costume look right? Does it show as they want it to show?

But most people never think below the surface of their costumes. For instance, very few princesses think about the responsibilities that would come with being royalty. Cowboys don’t consider the dusty, hot conditions out on the range. Vampires rarely contemplate the emotional effects of being immortal.

Clearly, I do think of these things. And likely every writer thinks deeper than the surface of the costumes, to the reality beneath. After all, that’s what we do—delve into other people’s souls and explore their psyches. We create fictional people that must walk, talk, and react like real people in order to draw in the reader.

So, we writers must dive deep below the surface of our characters. What they “look like” is often the least important part of our character. We routinely put on and take off the “costumes” of our characters and see the world through their eyes.

This year alone I have been a 12-year-old boy in 1922, a ruthless Englishman planning a robbery, a 16-year-old half-god living in rural Kansas, a 12-year-old girl lost in Oz, and a 300-year-old spirit bent on revenge.

For me, exploring my characters is one of the most interesting and fun parts of writing. When I finally create real people who jump off the page, the giddy triumph is a high better than chocolate.

For writers, every day is Halloween!

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