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 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.
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.
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