Zestful Blog Post #292
I’m always suspicious of anyone who claims to “like people.” Because, my gosh, what a motley assortment we are.
As writers have been told a thousand times, the best fiction is character-driven. We know that, and we prove it to ourselves over and over. Which do you remember better, the sequence of events surrounding the stolen gold in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, or the feeling Huck and Jim had for each other? (If you’re sitting there thinking, “What stolen gold?”, then I rest my case and can knock off early for a beverage and a snack.)
Katherine Anne Porter said, “The only thing I know about people is exactly what I have learned from the people right next to me.” She knew that to write about people, we have to pay attention to them.
...and there they all are...
But dammit, we don’t have to like people. Liking has nothing to do with it. All we need to be is fascinated by people. Awed by people. Horrified by people. Inspired by people. And not just so we can portray them convincingly. Because through people, other people, and through creating and writing about characters, we find out things about ourselves. We explore and nourish ourselves. And we have the best chance of producing good writing. Now go out and steal some gold.
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