Monday, November 24, 2014

Value Judgements

"Do you reveal your values through your characters? If so, how?"

by Meredith Cole

I believe that you cannot be a good writer unless you make yourself vulnerable and take risks. Part of that is being willing to write about what you value and believe. It you don't allow your reader to see what's inside of you, then your writing can often miss the mark, appearing shallow and empty. Unsatisfying.

My characters always have some sort of arc. To be interesting, they have to end up somewhere different than where they started. They are often searching for something, and trying to figure out where they fit in the world. Some of them struggle with hard questions. Is killing someone ever justified? Is stealing ever the right thing to do? And they don't always make good decisions.

There is a moment in my writing when I start to move beyond the bare bones of the plot and start to figure out what the overall theme is of the novel. It's often not exactly what I intended when I began the process. Mysteries are usually about death and justice, redemption and truth. But in my novel POSED FOR MURDER, the story was also about friendship and art. Art has the power to unite a community or rip it apart. I wanted to explore that power. But I had to start first from my values and my beliefs.

Writing well is not particularly comfortable. It can be like yanking a band aid off an open wound. It hurts. It reveals what's hidden underneath in all its ugliness. And I believe that in the end that is what makes it beautiful.


RJ Harlick said...

A good, thoughtful post, Meredith.

Meredith Cole said...

Thanks RJ! It's a great subject--especially for this week...

Paul D. Marks said...

I think you're right on, Meredith, about taking risks and being vulnerable as a writer. Otherwise things sort of turn out bland and cookie cutter.