Editor

“You don’t know how to write a story about anyone other than yourself. That’s your problem. It’s not the words, it’s not the pacing or the voice. You refuse to be someone else.”

“But how can I write about anyone other than myself? I don’t really know anyone else.”

“What do you think writing is? If everyone could do it, there’d be more good writers. Too many bad ones as it is.”

“You’re right. I used to think it was enough just to let people hear my voice. But that’s just writing long Tweets, that’s navel-gazing. What value am I adding to people’s lives?”

“People’s lives? Woah, slow down Just learn the mechanics, then you can start thinking high level.”

“But I don’t know how to write someone else. And the harder I try to step out of my own shoes, the farther I try to get away from myself, the closer the character resembles me.”

“Self absorption is not a yoke you break out of permanently. But you can learn to loosen the grip with practice.”

“What do I do?

“Look at that guy over there.”

“Who, the geeky one with the glasses who fell asleep reading?”

“Sure. What do you see?”

“I see a guy who has a sociology exam coming up.”

“What else?” 

“He drinks coffee, but takes small sips.”

“And?”

“I see a guy who’s restless because he can’t figure out what he wants to do tomorrow, and he’s even more confused by today.”

“No, no, no. There you go. Pull back. Flesh it out.”

“Alright, alright…I see a guy who wants to go to the Quidditch World Cup and pull some sort of stunt but he only wants to do it because of a girl. And this stupid test is tomorrow and he needs to get ready and the stove at his home is broken and the landlord is being a dick as usual and the girl he likes, he found out, just hooked up with one of his best friends.”

“Hmmm. Too much, filter, filter…”

“But I don’t have a topic. This is an exercise.”

“Alright, that’s good for day one. Let’s call it a night.”

 

 

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Ex-Soviet immigrant turned wanna-be scribe. I bite off more than I can chew, but at least I've got good teeth.

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