Writing Humans

Writing about human interactions is sometimes as pleasurable as experiencing human interactions. As a writer it is easy to slip into valuing the former and casting aside the latter. Your work and your life will suffer.

The ingredients for writing are life experience, imagination, and a degree of detachment. This is not the same set of ingredients for living. It’s easy to confuse the one for the other. Then you end up wondering why everything reads the same and all your characters are flat xeroxes of the people you know.

I step away from the computer as I step away from the phone, and I try to do other things. Failure to do this brings failure across the board. All stories at their heart are about the human experience, because if you don’t care about the characters and what they are going through, then the story means nothing at all. If characters come across as little more than objects that are being moved around then readers aren’t going to see themselves in the narrative and are unlikely to get hooked in. If they do identify with people that are little more than ciphers then worry about your readers, but also recognise that your book may not be read in the way you intend it.