So you can read my books

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Under what conditions does a person continue to be a person?

Under what conditions does he or she stop being a person?

As a young man, Hitler dreamed of being an artist.

There are private collections of his artwork kept all across the world by different individuals ...

for whatever reasons prompt such people to collect those paintings.

Do they look at those works of art, trying to picture the mind of the man who put brush to canvas? To see if they can spot any indication of the monster he later became?

Rene Descares maxim : I think therefore I am.

Does what we think determine the person who we are? Do our actions dictate that? Or is it a meld of the two?

A zombie. Could we call that a person? It is hunger with a mouth and two legs (usually).

Yet, haven't you met people consumed by the hunger for fame, wealth, social status to the extent that they will sacrifice their wives, their children, their health to obtain them?

Do they quality as a type of zombie, emotional hunger driven with little thought for others?

What tells you more about a person? The way his body works or how his mind works?

I would suggest that language is where our being lives. There is the language of words, but there is also the language of action.

I say "I love you" but I forget your birthday, I humiliate you in public, and slap you in private. The language of action is more persuasive than that of words.

Novels are the only medium that portray the mind well.

Only novels expose the secret life of character.

Do you know your hero/heroine well enough to portray his/her character with a few deft eye lifts or sighs or the finality of a signing of a divorce decree?

The best novels show a mind in conflict with itself, dark urges contesting over the feeble protests of decent urges.

You, as a reader, will find the deepest connection with the character when his or her deepest thoughts are explored.

But they must resonate with truth -- the truth of what it means to be human. What are your character's deepest thoughts?

They will be about his worries, fears, and hopes.

If you can write a short , genuine-feeling paragraph of the worries, fears, and hopes of each of your characters,

they will come across as real in your novel.

And those paragraphs will help give you a sense of self for each character -- and how each one of those characters interact, mesh, or strike sparks off the others in your novel.

How do you write a genuine summation of your character's worries, fears, and hopes?

Once in New York City, a rat was filmed by a news crew caught in the middle of a busy street. It tried to dart from one side to the other, only to nearly be run over.

As by-standers watched, again and again, it frantically scrambled to the safety of the curb, only to miss death by millimeters.

Finally a whizzing tire caught the rat, sending it spinning and tumbling.

It stayed in one spot cowering.

A man with folded newspaper in hand ran from the sidewalk, scooped up the fearful rat, and tumbled it into the dark safety of the sewer grate.

The man smiled big, got on his bike, taking off. The camera crew called after him. "Why did you do that?"

He smiled embarrassed. "I've been scared like that, too."

If you can get your reader to think "I've felt like that, too," your character's worries, fears, and hopes will feel real to him and her.

Hope this helps your writing in some small way, Roland

Jessica Bell's STRING BRIDGE just hit #1 in Modern Contemporary Fiction! Whoot!

Oh, both VICTOR STANDISH urban fantasies are gaining momentum, too. Good to see. Thanks to all of you for buying. All royalites go to the Salvation Army still. :-)


  1. I've been scared like that too. And I'm not a rat fan, but that totally just made me feel for a rat.

    This was some great advice!

  2. I love the term "emotional zombie" That totally describes those selfish people who only seek to gratify themselves. I'm certainly learning how to get the reader to think "I've felt like that, too." I don't think I'm there yet, though. :)

  3. Deep thoughts today. I think the depths of emotion and darkness are what makes people, people. No other creature has the capacity for darkness~or compassion~like we do. It makes us unique among animals.

  4. At this point I do feel I know my main character well - what motivates him and how his actions reveal his true self.
    I believe what we think comes first and it is reflected in our actions.

  5. Wonderful thoughts! I can't for the life of me understand emotional zombies, I think cliche zombies are better :) My homework for the weekend is now to write a paragraph for each of my characters, thanks for the idea!

  6. Cassie Mae :
    Thanks. Reading about that kind man made my day when I read it, so I thought I would pass it on. Thanks again for staying to chat.

    Lara :
    Ernest Hemingway said no writer got to the point of "being there." And if a genius like him felt that way, then we can cut ourselves some slack. William Faulkner thought so.

    Heather :
    You are so right. What did Mark Twain write? "Man is the only animal that blushes ... or needs to!"

    Alex :
    I think all good writers, like yourself, know your characters before you put fingertips to keyboard. Victor Standish keeps going on in my head as I write that his personality just tumbles from my fingertips! LOL.

    Hope :
    Ouch! Now, I feel guilty for giving you a weekend homework assignment. I tried never to do that when I was a teacher! Thank you so much for the kind words. I may use my and your excercise for the A-Z CHALLENGE this February. Thanks for the idea, Roland