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A post by shadesong: On writers and non-writers

This reminded me of something I've been meaning to talk out for a while. Other worlds do live in my head. I've written a lot, people tell me it's good, I get the itch to write new things, and so on. There are stories in my head that I know want to come out. I do darn good description, and can write philosophical rants and essays until my fingers fall off.

But.

The characters don't come alive. They're like puppets - I put words in their mouths, make them move, and they comply without protest. They don't talk back. They don't tell me about themselves. It feels wrong, and makes me horribly sad. And without characters, there's no story, just shadows moving on the wall of the cave. And so I don't write fiction anymore, even though I desperately *know* there are things in me that want to come out, want to be told.

I remember, dimly, that characters did come alive for me, once. Maybe a decade ago. I'm not sure exactly when, or how, that went away. There's no great turning point, no crisis or trauma, that I can point to and say "There! That's what killed my characters!" They're just gone, and I want them back.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
leora
May. 19th, 2004 02:43 pm (UTC)
I consider myself a writer. Sum has quite a few fans. And some of the other stuff I've done is well-received by many who read it too.

But my brain doesn't work that way. My characters don't come alive. But I don't need them to. And it doesn't bother me either.

I have had characters who did, and they were lots of fun. But I could never get them into well-crafted bits of writing. They were just fun beings who did fun stuff. Whereas the ones who don't come alive can be part of some really good writing.
eub
May. 19th, 2004 05:56 pm (UTC)
It must be awful to have the experience of writing feel wrong to you. Does it help any that that's a secret from the reader? All I the reader know is what the words on the page do to my mind.

If you keep on writing well, I almost have to believe that eventually it will come to feel right enough.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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