Archive | 4:08 pm

Becoming Your Main Characters When Writing

14 Jan

003I don’t even know what day I’m posting this so I’ll just say howdy!

An interesting thing happened while I was working on my latest novel.  By the way, I officially hit the ¾ mark on the novel…but back to my point.  While I was writing I noticed that my writing voice in other writing ventures was changing. I was beginning to sound more like my main character Toby King….or he was beginning to sound more like me. I’m not sure which it is.

I write in first person.  I do that for several reasons, but the main reason is because first person allows me to dig deeper into the thoughts of my characters….I become them, so that as the novel continues they end up writing it based on our shared thoughts.  Does that make sense to you?

I have to feel what my characters feel or it isn’t real to me.  I have to think like they think or I can’t make it believable.  I have to see what they see and react the way I know they will react….Toby and I have become one during this process.  I understand him very well because so much of him…is me.

Let’s go to the quote of the day and then I have more to add.


The struggle of my life created empathy – I could relate to pain, being abandoned, having people not love me.
Oprah Winfrey

To continue, I feel empathy for my characters because they are real to me and I understand what they have gone through.  That is a remarkable feeling and I hope each of you experiences it at some point.

I have had people tell me that they could never write revealing exposes about themselves the way I have, and I find that a bit sad.  Writing is an intimate conversation between writer and reader.  It is exposing our humanity and risking the consequences.  I can’t imagine writing any other way.


street fair Aug 2012 048

Empathy…..use it and tell me what one of the people in this photo is feeling based on their facial expression.


The Phoebe Winter Writing Contest is taking submissions now for fictional writing 7,000 words or less. Deadline is February 1st and the cost if $17 per entry. You can read about it here.


The Writer’s Digest Self-Published Books Contest is accepting submissions; early bird deadline is April 1st. For details click here.


If you don’t know my friend Mary (tillsontitan on HP) then now is a good chance to meet her. She does a great series on the history of the Academy Awards and you can find her latest in that series here.


My good buddy Mark Bruno has a blog called The Clean Life. If you want an uplifting message of hope then check him out here.


I had an epiphany the other day and it made me laugh.  I was bemoaning the fact that a lot of writers don’t share works of fellow writers, and a lot of writers don’t bother to comment on articles written by their peers. I see so many on HubPages who just post their articles and then disappear into the woodwork….and I was feeling very negative towards those people until the epiphany came….they simply don’t care to be a member of a community.  All they are concerned about is getting their work online and offering it up to the google gods….and you know what?  That’s fine!  Writing is not a one size fits all occupation, and what works for one may not work for me, and the opposite is true as well.  I happen to love the community of writers that I belong to…and so I think I’ll stick with it.


I read somewhere last week that when writing dialogue in a short story or novel one shouldn’t use contractions, that it isn’t proper English.

B.S. is my response to that.  First of all, contractions are part of the English language; I know that because there is a name for them. LOL  Secondly, characters must sound like real people in a novel or story, and real people talk with contractions.   For goodness sake, use contractions if you want to.


A little longer than normal but I short-changed you last week so this makes up for it. Have a great day of writing my friends.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”