Horrible Revelation

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Help! I’m doing what all those first time novels do…you know, the thing that I scoff at and look down my nose at them for and swear that I will never ever do.

I was sitting in the sauna at the gym (you know, to help loosen my muscles) and started thinking about Julia’s story. I’ve been having trouble with several scenes during editing, in addition to the overall mourning-ness of it. Then it hit me. Everything that was causing me problems (so far) could be linked to one thing: I was writing my response to these events, not Julia’s.

I’m shy. It takes quite a while for me to open up about much of anything, let alone about an emotional experience like death, so I can only imagine that should one of my parents die in a plane crash, I would instantly turn inward and not let anyone in (very healthy, I’m sure). However, that’s not Julia. If she meets a stranger, she’d tell them what was going on. She’s more outgoing than I am…and that’s hard for me to imagine and thus hard to translate to paper.

Now I understand why so many first novels are considered thinly veiled autobiographies. I don’t want that. Need to shake myself out of myself.

Any suggestions as to how?

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7 thoughts on “Horrible Revelation

  1. Speaking from my own experience, the longer you spend with a story, the more you begin to inhabit the characters within. Whenever an idea comes to my mind, before I even write anything I just let it flourish and germinate inside my head. It helps me separate myself from the story.

    So my suggestion would be, spend time with the story in your mind before you begin to edit. You begin to feel the characters and in sense, start acting acting as a conduit.

    Once again though, this is my own method and I won’t pretend it’s a recipe for universal success. I won’t even pretend that my stories don’t fall into similar traps.

    • camsrobbins

      Matt,

      Thanks for the suggestions. I do need to spend more time in Julia’s head. I’m just glad I caught it early.

      And congrats on the release of “A Million Versions of Right!” That’s very exciting. How long were you working on it?

      Cam

  2. Jackie

    I’ve experienced this often, and it can become very difficult to figure out where you end and your character begins. My advice: pick a scenario that WOULD prompt you and your character to respond very differently (giving money to a homeless person, attending a certain concert, writing a letter to the editor, even shopping for groceries). Then brainstorm the two different reactions. From there, you should be able to see the character as more of an independent person with values and ideas that actually are quite separate from your own. Hope that helps!

  3. I’m afraid I don’t have any ideas…I just think writing fiction is difficult, that’s why I stick to non-fiction! Leaving this note simply to tell you I’m delighted you have started a blog, I’ll be following…

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