Saturday, May 05, 2007

From the Reading about Writing Front

Here's a good point from David Morrell:

"We call a fully drawn character "lifelike" when in fact we can never know someone in life as well as we have known that character in fiction. To the degree that we are privy to a character's thoughts and emotions, the experience is totally unrealistic, however magical."

He's right on here. In the real world we never truly know what is inside of another person. We can't read their thoughts and can't even trust our reading of their emotions. How ironic that in "fiction" we can do both.

7 comments:

Lucas Pederson said...

I agree. In fiction emtions and everything else is revealed to us. It's like a panting almost, or fine tuned music. You can feel the emotion as well as hear and see it. Great post!

Erik Donald France said...

Exactly! One of the strangest examples of not fathoming people you know for a long time is Grey Gardens, a documentary observing the interplay of people and their many misunderstandings. Byu contrast, it's good to be a writer.

Steve Malley said...

You mean you cannot read thoughts?

Ah well, the Dark Gift is fickle...

Susan Miller said...

I have wondered about this and always figured that good fiction writers were drawing from some part of themselves when developing characters. This, of course, is because I come from the school of thought that none of us are any one thing.

Is this the case? I don't really know, but then when I attempt to write fiction much of the time it comes out as fantasy. Nothing feels real. The characters seem like such a stretch.

Then I think maybe it's just about being a beginner...how an artist will render a self portrait over and over again until he's ready to look outside him/herself.

Donnetta Lee said...

We never really know anyone with certainty, do we Charles? But we know the characters we create when we write-that is, until they get the upper hand and take over. Life-like? We only hope that WE are.
Donnetta

Bernita said...

Sort of a God and the Garden irony...

Avery DeBow said...

Sometimes I'll be sitting across from my spouse and think, "I don't know you at all." It's not a lack of communication or trust, just that I can never know exactly what's going on in that head at any given time. I can guess -- and sometimes I'll even be right -- but I'll never know. It just proves that we are all, in reality, alone. Maybe that's why we write; we're sensitive to this knowledge and want to either 'fix' it, or run from it.