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Talking to your Characters

One of my favorite quotes is from Bill Bryson, an American writer who’s written some of the best travel writing I’ve ever read, particularly around and about Great Britain. Bill says, “There’s always a little toothpaste left in the tube.”

How true that is. When you’re in the middle of a novel and stumped for a way forward, remember Bill’s admonition. Look at the stumped part and don’t fret your way through a labored solution. What would your character do?

Characters are people, you know, and they have lives…complicated lives. They didn’t just arrive on page 128 of your novel without a history. They had a father who beat them, or a shitty job, possibly a lost love or failed marriage. On the other hand, life may well have handed them roses all the way through, but one thing’s for sure, something happened between getting born and appearing in your novel.

Talk to them.

You not only created them for whatever reason, they have lives. If they won’t talk to you, they certainly aren’t going to talk to your readers. Squeeze them. There’s always a little toothpaste left in the tube. Just remember: ‘Dig Down and When You’re at the Bottom, Dig a Little Deeper’.

 

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