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Thursday, January 14, 2010
Real People and Believable Characters
As a writer, you may feel that basing a character on a real person is cheating. But you would be wrong. Studying real people is the primary research of a writer.
Understanding another person requires watchfulness, subtlety and reflection. The writer needs to observe, to talk and to listen. Most of all, listen. Later, when alone, the writer gains insight through reflection and rumination. The most basic work of any writer is to understand the uniqueness of a single person.
Many writers begin their careers obsessing about conflicts with parents, siblings, bosses or lovers. The emerging writer may replay old arguments or betrayals. Re-examining these memories, the writer looks for alternate ways that painful scenes could have played out. Reworking the original scenes, the writer creates new ones filled with believable characters, action and dialogue. And reworking scenes is the proper work of a writer.
My first love was reading, and my second love was writing. Deciding how to string words together fascinates me.
My interests and pursuits are wide ranging. I'm a self-employed educational entrepreneur and book packager. During my career I have worked as a consultant, professor, business owner, author and ghostwriter.