Going along with the characters tell the story idea, there’s this thing that’s been bugging me, and I think that in many ways I highlighted this with Any Other Reality.
Yes, that story is, in many ways, a spoof. It pokes fun at a type of fiction that–don’t get me wrong, I love. I have given many years of my life and much effort–almost blood, sweat, and tears to this type of writing.
What it really gets at, though, in the end, is the authors.
And I include myself in that number. I’m not immune. The pygmies are even mentioned.
I think one of the worst things a writer can do is forget to respect their characters. They’re human (sometimes) and bound to make mistakes, but they generally have reasons for the choices that they make. Ignoring their basic motivations and history to tell the story the way the author wants it is not right. It’s a bad process, and going down that road will not improve anyone’s storytelling. As a reader, when a character makes a choice that comes out of left field, you’ve just about lost me. Sometimes I stick around to see why they did that, and other times I’m just done. I can tell I won’t like where it’s going if that stuff happens.
Some equate writing to playing god. That’s something I’ve never liked.
I create characters, yes. I create worlds. They live in these worlds.
Does that make me the puppet master?
I try very hard not to be. They have reasons and motivations, and really, I’m just telling their story. It’s like I was a silent witness to it, not that I was telling them what to do. I wrote it down, but I didn’t interact.
So I feel the story is the main thing. It’s all that matters.
Forget I was even there.