Sean: People call those imperfections, but no, that's the good stuff. (Good Will Hunting)
I often write sucky sentences. Figuring out why they suck can be difficult—they look okay, they might be grammatically correct and they might even make sense, but something is off. Once I decide why the sentence or paragraph isn't working, I'll highlight it with a corresponding colour so I can fix it when I edit.
‘Well, the thing about a black hole—its main distinguishing feature—is it's black. And the thing about space, the colour of space, your basic space colour, is black. So how are you supposed to see them?’ Holly, Marooned (Red Dwarf)
Leilana Pierce: I’d like to somehow make a difference in people’s lives.
Sean: Nail them while they're vulnerable, that's my motto. (Good Will Hunting)
Andrew: Speak for yourself. Bender: Do you think I'd speak for you? I don't even know your language. (The Breakfast Club)
And so it comes to this, Insiders. My sojourn down Inside a Dog has come to an end. In this, my farewell post, I want to talk about creating fictional characters, and engaging with them as readers. To do so, I’m going to focus closely on point of view (POV for short).
In the Gospel of Writing According to Julie, the first rule of fiction is this:
1. Stories need characters who want something they can’t have.
The second rule is like unto it:
2. You should pile those characters with problems that seem impossible to solve.
One of the reasons I like being a writer is that I get to do my work all by myself. (Almost. Not quite. More on that in a sec.)
When I was a kid in school, I hated group projects. I begged my way out of them whenever possible. “I’ll do twice the work,” I would plead. “Three times. Four. Only don’t make me collaborate, pleeeeeeze!” The truth was, I was a bossy little snobby-pants who didn’t like compromising. I didn’t want somebody else to miss a deadline and lower my grade. Bottom line: I didn’t play nicely with others.
Time is never on my side.
Take, for instance, the time difference between me, in Los Angeles, and readers from Melbourne. If my math is correct, we are 18 hours apart. That means, if I say to myself, “Hey, time for another Inside a Dog blog post. I wonder what time it is there,” I look it up and find that it’s two weeks from Tuesday. Maybe not quite, but it’s usually late in the day, tomorrow. Eek!