Writing Problems – Getting to Know My Characters
My last MFA submission came back with a comment from my mentor that made my just want to pop. There is apparently a distance between the reader and my main character, which keeps the reader from getting really inside the story. It’s pretty much my biggest problem right now, and I need to work on getting past it.
I have no idea how.
This is a story I’ve been working on for a couple of years. And to be told that even after all that time I don’t let the reader get to know my character…. well, it just makes me want to bash my head into my desk continuously. When this was revealed as my problem, I got this incredibly closed in feeling, like I was being pushed against a wall and was being told “Go forward!” but I can’t, because there’s a fricking wall there. Very frustrating, and claustrophobic.
This isn’t a problem I can solve with mere writing and editing. I have to sit and figure out who my character is – because it’s turning out, I don’t know her as well as I thought. It shows, and it’s the whole root of my problem. So I’ve been talking out loud, and jotting down notes, and writing out bits of story that will never, ever come up in the actual novel. I’m trying to work out bit by bit every aspect of my character, and trying to work out every part where she feels like someone distant that the reader doesn’t know. It’s really hard, and I feel like I’m working at a snail’s pace by doing it. This has become one of those points where I’m worried that I’ve hit the end of my skill set, that there’s nothing that I’m capable of doing that could possibly make this story better.
But really, I feel like that every week, so maybe I can crack through this, too.