Dear Journal, When I write in first person it’s sometimes hard to forget that the main character isn’t me. Sure, there are always bits and pieces of me present in each and every one. They all bleed the same as me, with their hearts on their sleeves, and with ulterior motives coloring almost every one … Continue reading Dear Journal: In Character
“The most important character in every novel is the author’s personal story. The anguish in the narrative, as well as the tender moments, they all derive from it and make it necessary for the entire novel’s existence.”
I write in first person. Sometimes. And every single time I write in first person I wonder how much of it is me, my own thoughts and fears, my own variances and expressions, my own essence. If we really do write what we know, then maybe all of my characters have a little of me in them, which is kind of scary but kind of comforting at the same time. My imagination is vast and varied, and my experience a bit less so, but my words take on a mind of their own. I’m sure other writers can agree with me on this, if not quite on process, because we all go about it in a way that makes sense to us, the process. But with that imagination and the potential of every single character I write, all of that influences the narrative a lot more than my own life.
Then you read my first novel, and you tell me that so much of it sounds like it’s my life. Because so much of it is directly from my own life. What the conundrum, huh? And yet, even though so much of it derives from my personal anguish and my own internal conflicts, it’s still a work of fiction. Even though it’s in first person. Even though it’s largely from my life. When I sat down to write Detours that first day, I had no idea where it was going to go, what it had to say, and where it was going to take me. And when the main character spoke to me, he used my voice. I felt like we were as close as twins, that we shared so much history, but that in the end we led our own lives for better or for worse. Continue reading “The Uncomfortable Closeness of Narrative”