Why I love writing fiction
There is something so wonderful and so magical about taking a blank sheet of paper, putting some words on it, and you’ve got a story. The act of writing these words allows the reader to conjure up images of people, places, and even purpose. Why this person did what they did.
In fiction, the sky’s the limit. I can make up characters, events, motivations, and let them go in a way I can’t with memoir. I had read that in writing fiction, you as the writer have to remove yourself. To me that means that you have to let the character work it out instead of trying to influence them.
I found this to be true when I sat down to write “They’re Always With You.” The main character, Colette, was a very strong, insistent voice. Since she propelled the story events, I had to let her come through and remain true to her. She was the one telling the story. It sounds funny to say this but I had to trust my character.
Another thing I love about fiction is that I can choose to weave some history into the story if I want to. I love history and I was able to intersperse some historical facts into my book. I think it adds some interest when you see characters in some historical perspective. As Colette interviews her grandfather, Antonio, an immigrant story emerges. He tells her about leaving Italy, going through Ellis Island, and then settling in Red Wing. She begins to understand that people are complicated by their past experiences. It gives dimension to Colette and her relationship with her grandfather.
So, I think that characters are key. They have to be interesting, multi dimensional, and true to themselves. If they are boring and flat, the reader will close the book and never pick it up again.
One more thing. Writing fiction is really fun. After all, why would I spend hours glued to my computer searching for the perfect words if it wasn’t fun?