I was going through my notes the other day and came across this piece of writing advice I’d saved. When I first stumbled across it, it felt like the cracking of a code. Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I found it or who wrote it, but it’s so good, I just have to pass it on:
“In fiction, many authors get into serious trouble by writing as an author, instead of writing as a character. Your job is to inhabit your characters’ lives, not report on them. Become your characters. Your goal falls more in line with method acting than reporting.
You have to strive to see the world through your character’s eyes. What details and events will your character focus on?
Take on a fictional persona and write through that mask. Lose the burden of being clever or lyrical in your writing–unless your character is clever or lyrical. And don’t have all your characters be equally clever or lyrical.”
Maybe this is old news to you, but it was a revelation to me. It’s also probably the error I see most often when editing my own and others’ work — well, that and writing in complete scenes. But that’s a topic for another post.