Thursday, October 31, 2013


by Alan

How has writing your main character changed you as a person?

I’d like to think that writing about my protagonist (any of my protagonists) has made me into a sharper, more self-actualized, wittier, more thought-provoking, more handsome person.

I’d like to think that, but I can’t.

I’m the same semi-schlubby person who wears sweats when he writes. Who occasionally spills food on his shirt. Who sometimes forgets a word that he used JUST YESTERDAY which bugs the crap out of him. Still the same guy who roots for the Washington Professional Football Team no matter how poorly the team plays.

Now what has changed, due to my writing, is my writing. The more I write, the better I get (at least I think so). I came to writing fiction relatively late in life, as compared to many of my contemporaries, so I’ve had to learn a lot in a short amount of time. And I’m still learning (I’m a little weak on grammar; I don’t know a dangling participle from a flying Wallenda.).

With each scene I write, with each draft and second draft and eighth draft, I feel more comfortable creating new worlds and characters. More comfortable with plots and descriptions and dialogue and settings. More comfortable using the strike-through feature. More in control of my story.

More like a real writer.


Gary Phillips said...

Well, now, Alan, would your main character be as PC as you when referring to that Washington Professional Football team? And can RG 3 get it together?

Catriona McPherson said...

Dangling participles, schmangling participles. "Life's too short to stuff a mushroom" wouldn't be nearly such a good motto if it was/were (Pah!) grammatical. Nobody thinks Life can't reach up to the mushroom-stuffing counter!

Alan Orloff said...

Gary - My main characters aren't always PC. But even they would probably want to change the name. And yes, I do believe in RGIII!

Catriona - For all I know about grammar, there really could be such a thing as a schmangling participle. (Now I'm hungry for mushrooms, too.)

Barry Knister said...

My main characters are usually so much more clever than I am that I dream up ways to punish them. Hence the writing of crime fiction.