Understanding People As A Writer

I’m scratching my face. I’m trying not to, but I’m all covered in itchy rash.

I got married last year and people gave us vouchers. I loathe shopping in all its forms, so it was only this week that I dragged myself to a department store to buy some things we needed for the house. I also had to buy a new winter coat, as I’d been rambling and fettling in my usual one, and it was grubby and tired. I noticed in the mirrors I looked rather wan, so as I drifted past the make up counters I asked the woman for a light tinted moisturiser. I explained I never wore make up and she sold me a hideously expensive tube of beige stuff.

Two days later and I’m covered in lumps.

I stamped around, cursing and questioning – why do women bother with make up, what’s the point, people are mad, I don’t understand, and all that.

I’m not a girlie type. I don’t read glossy mags and have no desire to know how people think about me. And when I consider the main characters of my stories…oh. Oh yeah.

My short stories tend to have a variety of personalities, as they are a great form to explore a different world. But the various novels I’ve attempted to write over the years all seem to have strong female leads with too many traits that are similar to my own. I know that any character will have aspects of the writer’s own personality but I see, very clearly, that the reason I get bored with the characters is because I know what they will do, how they think, why they act like that…because they are me.

As I sit here and pick at my skin, I vow: I’m going to write about people I don’t know, for a change, and make it a voyage of discovery for myself as well as the reader.

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  1. #1 by Nimue Brown on May 5, 2012 - 2:19 pm

    This is when the fun begins. I spend probably far too much of my time trying to figure out what underpins behaviour that perplexes me, and far too much time imagining the insides of the heads of the crazier than me, the more evil than me… see what delights await you!

    • #2 by autumnbarlow on May 6, 2012 - 3:12 pm

      Oh yes…that’s inspired a new blog for me… right, off to crawl into other peoples’ heads….

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