Writing 101, Day #6: the writer

cropped-class-seal_seal-class-of-june-2014Today’s assignment is to present a character study of the most interesting person you met this last year. I drew a blank at first. So many people you meet, how to pick one, and most importantly … if I pick this one what are the consequences?

Then I glanced over last year’s posts on my other blog. I often meet new people there. Some are dead, some alive. From some we only know their names. From others we do not even know that. We just have bones and wonder who they were.

But then I did see someone I only got to know better in the past few weeks. It is not like I didn’t know she existed, she just never profiled herself. At first, she wrote under a pen name. In fact, she had chosen a man’s name. There are many women writers who did that. Reasons range from not wanting to lose one reader (indicating the fear that readers might only buy same gender authors) to avoiding prejudicial or preferential treatment from some industries and /or disciplines.

This woman wanted to be taken serious for what she wrote regardless of gender. No distractions by wondering who she was. No questioning why she wrote about these subjects because of her gender. Nothing. Just all the attention for the non-fiction stories she wrote.

As successful as that was, the wish to expand to other topics was there. I know she used to write bits and pieces in notebooks always thinking that one day she’d write them into a proper story. But it never happened. You see, she got stuck in the “book” concept.

A story does not have to be super-detailed or cover at least 500 pages to be a book. It can be as short as the writer wants it to be. There is no rule that says you can only start writing a book from the beginning. You can start at the end and work your way back.

So when she saw the serial assignment she took a deep breath and did what she should have done a long time ago. The words were there, the characters just walked in, and before she knew it part one was written.

The way she’s writing the story is maybe not textbook strategy. She does not have it all planned out yet. There is no timeline, no well-defined plot, and no list of characters.

Part 2 was prepared by expanding on part 1. She merely wrote a line or two about each character and event mentioned in part 1. She asked herself whether she could just expand on this or whether a new character or event had to be introduced to make it all work. I am sure she will continue writing this story this way.

The reactions to part one have encouraged me to write more fiction stories. It was a great experience to let my fingers translate my thoughts. In short, I recently met the fiction writer in me who cannot wait to continue writing the substitute lead singer.

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