I want to talk today about character. Not the type that we strive to have within ourselves such as, oh look at that young man he sure has shown good character. As admirable as this quality is to have I want to talk about story characters, the crazy players that populate the written world and do the things that we all wish we could if we only had the means or the proverbial guts to do so. I am currently writing a novel and the most entertaining thing is listening to the characters talk to each other and react to the world. If you are one that enjoys listening in on the sometimes meaningless rambles of coworkers or the young couple’s spat that is currently happening to you across the coffee shop (don’t stare) then writing may be your thing. Take out a pen and paper now or open up your trusty word processor and try writing out a conversation between two people about anything. Use people you know or conversations you have heard before to get you started. By the time you have finished a paragraph or two something wonderful happens. The characters take over and begin taking on a life of their own. A great time indeed.
I have decided today to take the plunge and put my literary money where my mouth is. The days keep passing by and unfortunately despite the advent of handheld computers and man’s accomplishment of walking on the moon, no one has discovered how to get younger. Therefore today I am embarking upon the admirable task of writing a novel. I’ll wait while you roll your eyes. Thank you. 1,000 words a day will be my mantra for the foreseeable future. I will post updates periodically and be available to discuss the crazy business of writing with anyone interested. Are you undertaking a similar journey? If so I would love to hear about it. One thing is for certain, writing can be a lonely business, but oh so rewarding.
Writing isn’t easy. Sure it looks simple enough. After all if you know how to speak a language than how hard could it possibly be to put those words down on paper. Anyone who has had a staring contest with a blank piece of paper or computer screen can tell you that the blank screen is a fierce opponent in the writing arena. It does not blink. So why, if it is so hard, should anyone even attempt such a crazy endeavor as writing? Because if you stare at that blank screen long enough, words will come.
For the first time writer this may seem scary. All of a sudden voices with seemingly their own personalities begin to cry out, begging for their story to be told. Don’t run away. You find yourself in the stories you tell, for every story you tell contains a piece of you. No fear of reproach is necessary as this is your world. You can build cities and populate them with your characters. Watch what they do and listen. While the story may go in directions you didn’t think you could possibly imagine, you must follow the thread every inch of they way. This is what it means to be a writer. You are an explorer venturing into uncharted territory and returning with amazing tales to entertain and provide reflection. Greet the blank screen as a friend. A friend that is willing to take you on an incredible journey. So take notes, listen, and be prepared to tell the rest of us what you have seen. This is why we write.