For me, writing is an exploration of my inner thoughts and confusions. Since I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, I tend to “follow” my characters around to see what they’re up to, what they’re thinking, and how they will react. I’m well aware how difficult it can be to separate the author from the characters, but that’s what a writer must learn to do well or the writing doesn’t work.
Conflict only makes matters worse. When my characters get into sticky situations, it makes me wonder what sticky situation I’m in – in real life. When they make a major decision, I have to wonder if I’d make the same decision or not. Most often, I don’t agree with my characters at all like I thought I would. That’s what makes it interesting enough for me to finish a novel. I just have to see how my characters are going to handle their predicaments.
I am amazed at how differently from me some of my characters think. They may even have a similar moral base, but choose in ways that I don’t always understand until I’ve finished the book and reread it straight through. My characters are my therapists, even the bad ones. I’m reminded that life isn’t the same for everyone. We don’t all see the world in exact same way. And, because of that, I’ve got to try to see the other point-of-view when I’m talking with someone in real life.
It’s great to know that my characters will, at least, get to the end of the story, even if I don’t. Unlike me, unlike my life, my characters tend to know how to get to the bottom of things, they know how to clear things up for themselves. Most of them have to or the book can’t end. I’m going to take that as a hint, and try not to think about clearing up my own confusions until I’m near the end. That’s when I’ll be ready.
Terry Persun is an award winning author and a #1 Amazon bestseller. He is also a Pushcart nominee. His mainstream novel, “Wolf’s Rite”, was a Star of Washington award winner, a POW! Award winner, and a ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalist. His science fiction novel, “Cathedral of Dreams”, was also a ForeWord magazine Book of the Year finalists. And his historical novel, “Sweet Song”, won a Silver IPPY Award for best regional fiction. His latest novel, “Doublesight”, is book one of his new fantasy series. His latest poetry collection is “And Now This”. Terry writes in many genres, including historical fiction, mainstream, literary, and science fiction/fantasy.