Please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for August: (8/3) Dianne Freeman (8/10) Daryl Wood Gerber (8/17) E. B. Davis's Review of Granite Oath, James M. Jackson's new novel (8/24) Rose Kerr (8/31) V. M. Burns.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Writing in Captivity


Part of the job of being a writer is to get inside each character’s skin and show their desires, motivations and emotions and then flesh those out to make the character seem human and real.

If a writer does this right, a reader can connect with that character so strongly that the reader will ‘remember’ that character for the rest of their life. I certainly remember losing my heart to Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, and I read that novel when I was fourteen, which is more years ago than I care to remember.

It takes genuine talent to connect a reader to a villain, which is why I annually re-read The Silence of the Lambs. I’m still trying to puzzle out how Thom Harris did what he does when he makes me empathize with and root for the monster Hannibal Lecter.

What I’ve discovered during our enforced isolation is that I’m suddenly diving deeper into my character development, and I like what I see turning up.

It’s not that I’m spending more time writing. I’ve still got my daily word count and my routine, but I think that because I live alone and I’m now working from home that I’ve lost the day-to-day workplace coffee station distractions. I’m still doing my job, but I’m not hearing about the daily goings on of my fellow worker bees, and as such I don’t need to filter all of that out of my brain before I sit down to compose.

I’m not saying this is a bad thing. I’m a social animal and I like my fellow business associates, but in the past six weeks my characters have developed more depth. My good guys aren’t all brightness and light, and the bad ones are suddenly displaying redemptive qualities like taking care of their momma.

I’m not sure where this new depth and direction is going to take me, but it’s fun. What have you learned about yourself, your characters, and your writing during captivity?

8 comments:

Annette said...

All good guys have some bad in them and all bad guys have some good in them. It's my mantra when I'm creating new characters.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I've learned that social isolation produces words, lots of words, and an usual amount of hand washing (really? the MC dumped her groceries on the floor and washed her hands?)

I also have strange dreams, one of which produced a crucial series arc plot point.

Martha Reed said...

Agreed! And every bad guy thinks they're justified in doing the bad thing. I've also had plot points resolve while I sleep. I think that's my subconscious still working while I'm not watching. Love when it happens!

KM Rockwood said...

Nice to hear the productive things that are happening during this frustrating time. Silver linings and all that.

Warren Bull said...

I am learning about Youtube channels by putting up some on songs.

Martha Reed said...

Many writers I know have escaped into their fictional worlds during difficult times. I know I have; it's my refuge. I do wonder though if stressing my characters right now isn't indirectly adding more stress to me and my real world life? Time to ponder ...

Shari Randall said...

So glad you're finding this crazy time productive! I'm discovering that my hubby is very distracting, especially when he's trying not to be :)

E. B. Davis said...

I'm more demanding in my reading. I've started and stopped reading more books during this time than any other. Perhaps because I have few distractions, I have a need to be captivated, caught up in a book. When that doesn't happen, I put it down. Frustration? I'm not sure, but likely the cure is what you are writing, Martha.