Thursday, January 29, 2009
Writer or Actor
I’ve never wanted to be an actor. Except… I’ve always secretly harbored a desire to appear in a western movie, preferably as a gunfighter. Thus, you see why at age 50 I’ve strapped on my shootin’ iron and had Lana take pictures of me as Arkansas Slim. I feel like a goof, but it’s good fun. (No comments about the “slim” part.)
I’ve realized, though, that being a writer is something like being an actor. Our characters are our roles. We inhabit them. We try to bring them to life. Our stories live and die, as do movies, on the ability of our characters to carry the tale. Maybe some readers won’t notice if we give short shrift to our characters as long as we fill our stories with action. But we’ll notice. If we’re in the skins of our characters in the way good actors put on their roles, we’ll know when we “make” the character do something instead of watching them respond in ways natural to them.
If they want to be gunfighters you have to let ‘em.
I also apologize for letting the Strange Worlds Contest drag on. Work has just been crazy. If you haven’t entered to win a free book yet, please do so here. I’m going to close the contest at midnight central standard time on Saturday, January 30. And since I’ve made everyone wait so long I’m going to pick two winners for free books.