Saturday, February 11, 2017

Over the Coffee Cup
Morning Musings Over This and That

James Frey wrote a book  titled Telling Lies for Fun and Profit.  [It’s about writing, of course.]  It’s a very good book, but right now I’m interested in the implication rather than the content.  [Not to mention I’m a little uneasy with the idea that I spend my days crafting untruths!]

So, to get to the implication here:  do you think fiction equals lies?  Or do you think fiction reveals truth in indirect ways?

I’d like to believe the latter.  Contrary to what many non-writers believe, characters are not malleable puppets.  Still, as the writer, you can put characters in situations that reveal many of their secrets.  Of course, the character can always refuse to cooperate if asked to do something that doesn’t fit.  The shock I experienced the first time one stood up, glared at me, said “I wouldn’t do that,” and walked off the page is unforgettable.  [That was Logan, whom you’ve never met; we’re still arguing about a few things.  He’ll make it to print or screen one of these years.  Maybe.]

The point is this:  I tried to force Logan to do something that violated his inner truth.  That was bad.  Once a character has been created, his or her [yes, we need a new pronoun] actions must be consistent with that character’s persona.

So my promise to you is this:  I will always listen to my characters.