Write Like Someone Else

One of the best parts of writing is creating characters, telling their stories and in doing so, pretending to be someone else. It’s like having a second life, completely in your control. One of the worst things about it is everyone who knows you assumes that in some respect, you are revealing aspects of your persona that you cover up in public. When you write melancholy, disfunction or even downright malice into your characters, does that mean that inside you feel that way on some level as well? And why is it that it’s only those darker qualities that people question? Why would someone assume that if I write about a serial killer, that I have murderous tendencies myself? Or in a more realistic scenario, if a write about a character suffering from depression or anxiety, does that mean I am revealing my inner issues too?

The short answer is: of course not! The beauty of writing is being able to step outside yourself and into someone else’s life. To use your imagination in a more than superficial way to feel what it’s like to be another person with a unique perspective and a completely different set of circumstances. When we do that we have to be prepared to go to the dark side. To find those regions of human experience that aren’t pretty or comfortable. Because really that is life these days.

I’ve said this previously: being able to shine a light in dark places in our writing is a good thing. It creates the drama a novel needs. It makes our characters believable and relatable. It gives them depth, dimension. It makes the reader invest in the character, either in hoping for their salvation or their demise. But it doesn’t make the writing a confession. It just makes us better writers.

Image via John Haim

11 thoughts on “Write Like Someone Else

  1. I don’t know that I assume such things about writers unless I’m reading a memoir. But, that said, when trying to get inside the minds/lives of my characters, it can be a real challenge to know what makes them tick. And then to get that across to a reader in an interesting way. Very tough for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed. I admit getting a bit bogged down in research just trying to get a good perspective. Not productive maybe but makes the writing more authentic. Hopefully!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely! That’s why I tend to gravitate toward stories and characters that are inherently good. There’s too much ‘bad’ in the world. I love when my fiction has the good. It’s not so much that they don’t struggle, but that good always wins. You know, romance. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! There is nothing more satisfying than seeing the main character overcome the odds to achieve success. Escape from the real world is especially beneficial during tough times. We all need a break from bad news! 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s truly the most beauriful part of writing and maybe the most spiritual to me, no matter the corners we explore. It is also one of the most beauriful parts of being human – walking in another’s shoes.

    Liked by 1 person

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