The Amateur Marriage grew out of the reflection that of all the opportunities to show differences in character, surely an unhappy marriage must be the richest.
I expect that any day now, I will have said all I have to say; I'll have used up all my characters, and then I'll be free to get on with my real life.
I write because I want more than one life; I insist on a wider selection. It’s greed, plain and simple. When my characters join the circus, I’m joining the circus. Although I’m happily married, I spent a great deal of time mentally living with incompatible husbands.
For my own family, I would always choose the makeshift, surrogate family formed by various characters unrelated by blood.
I'll write maybe one long paragraph describing the events, then a page or two breaking the events into chapters, and then reams of pages delving into my characters. After that, I'm ready to begin
The first-person viewpoint is more enjoyable to write, because it lets me meander more freely, and it can reveal more of the character's self-delusions. Really all the advantages are with first-person, so I'm sorry I don't get to pick and choose.
There's surprisingly little difference between writing from a male angle and from a female angle, but I feel more restricted in my language when I'm writing as a male character because males tend to sound less emotionally expressive than females.
It's true that writing is a solitary occupation, but you would be surprised at how much companionship a group of imaginary characters can offer once you get to know them.
I do write long, long character notes - family background, history, details of appearance - much more than will ever appear in the novel. I think this is what lifts a book from that early calculated, artificial stage.
I consciously try to end my novels at a point where I won't have to wonder about my characters ever again.
I don't want to say I hear voices; well, actually I do hear voices, but I don't think it's supernatural. I think it's just that when characters are given enough texture and backbone, then lo and behold, they stand on their own.
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