Living in the Shoes of Another Human Being

Last weekend I spent time with a bestselling author who’s working to meet the deadline for her next book.  She puts out about one book a year!  In tossing about ideas for my own novel-in-progress, I came away full of exciting possibilities.  The author, M., spends time deep in research of everything from turtles to fly fishing and transforms Low Country towns and diners into settings for her book.  She loves her work with a passion and finds herself so totally immersed in the characters that their stories come to life on the page.  They live through her and she feels their hurts and loves totally, without restraint.


“I had a bar scene and my character walked up to the bar and ordered a margarita.  She really wanted that drink,” she said.  “You become the character.”


I stared into my spaghetti with fresh pesto and hesitated.  “I have a tight control on my emotions.  I don’t think I’ll enjoy living the pains and passions of my character,” I said.


“Yes, yes,” she insisted.  “It’s freeing.  It will release you!”


Her thrill about writing and crafting and living each day with her characters – day and night – inspires me to go for total immersion too.  She even draws on her dreams for discovering the next scenes. 


So as I write and work my way through chapter after chapter of this new story, I begin to sense what she means.  I can let my characters free and live vicariously. 


If I don’t feel their hearts and let them come through on the page, then no one will pick up the passion and excitement and want to read the book.   Living in the shoes of another human being is part of the fun of being a writer!         

copyright: Debra Moffitt 2008



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