Writing character is like haunting my family

If I were to die and be stuck haunting my family, I know the one room I would haunt- my kitchen. That’s right- MY kitchen. I cook as a hobby and nothing can set me swirling into a tornado of irritation like opening a drawer and not finding the tool I need. As an overactive OCD entity, I would rearrange the drawers to my liking after every dishwasher load until they got the message. Or moved.

I realize I do this same style of haunting in my writing life. When I am writing and a character takes a turn I don’t like or makes a choice I wouldn’t, I begin to impose my will upon them. Just like my family putting the potato masher where the ice cream scoop belongs, I find small muscles twitching when a character goes off on a very non-me tangent. It takes trust in your own writing ability and patience with your character to keep writing and see where this path leads. More often than not, my characters become more real, more individual when I set them free and resist the urge to impose my will. Readers tend to enjoy my characters more if I allow them to make their own path and tell me a character seems fake if I forced them to my will.

Relax, enjoy the write, and set your characters free. Stress over where the potato masher went, but when it comes to character, just let them do their own cooking.


One thought on “Writing character is like haunting my family

  1. Rustin says:

    One thing I have learned over the past few years is that growth requires stepping outside your comfort zone. Also, as a wanna be chef I feel your pain in the kitchen. Some things just belong in certain places, yet never seem to make it there. Keep your head up, you’re doing great things.

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