Friday, June 5, 2009

I'm not the protagonist!

So I have spent most of my summer looking for work and it is one of the most frustrating things in the universe. But I have some hopeful prospects, as of today. One online business might hire me to blog for them and I just landed an interview for a summer data entry job. I know, data entry sounds boring, but my friend did the same job last summer, and she said it wasn't bad at all. So I feel excited at the possibility.

I have been spending a lot of time this last week working on my latest book. I figured since I actually had time for the first time in a long time, I should take advantage of it. So I got to work and just wrote page after page. Writing is funny because I really do get rusty at it. When I do it regularly (as in every day) it comes naturally and I don't have to stop and think of how I will proceed or what words I will use in this instance. But when I'm out of practice, it is slower and takes a lot of concentration. It's like stretching your muscles before working out.

But it is already getting easier after only a week. I find myself anxious to get back to the story, thinking constantly of how the poor character is going to get out of one situation or another. I am trying to write a protagonist who is different than I am in certain key characteristics and I've been surprised at how often I want to make him do the things I would do in the same circumstances. I have to stop myself and say, "No, no. He would not react that way. Think about how he would react..."

The easiest thing for a writer to do is to go autobiographical, to lean heavily on personal experience and insight when creating the main character. I already did that one in my first completed novel (the one I worked so hard on but now keep carefully hidden away for no one in the world to read). Now I have to put a lot of attention into making my current main character unlike me so that the novel is HIS story, not mine. It's surprisingly hard to do, but I know it will get easier with practice. The characters are supposed to be like real people you could know, but not like real people that actually exist.