True Confessions, No Not the Magazine

Though I have written about True Confessions, the magazine, that it not what this post is about.  Oh no, it is an embarrassing personal confession instead, since they are the best kind, of course.

Today I was driving down busy Sandy Boulevard and came to a stop at the traffic signal.  A scruffy homeless man crossed the street in front of me and when he neared my car (I was in the lane closest to the sidewalk) he leaned towards it and bent down.  It looked a bit like he was lunging toward my vehicle and I glanced quickly over to make sure I had all the doors locked, panicking a little. 

But then this man stood, holding a piece of litter and deposited it in the garbage bin on the street.  And then he picked up another piece of paper and did the same.

Damn preconceptions about people. 

I started to roll my window down to call out a thank you but the light changed and I had to move, so I thought it instead. 

I think that sometimes creating characters for fiction kind of falls into the same category or preconceptions.  You are completely and totally convinced that your character is not the sort of person who would leave her husband until she does it. 

I’ve been fooling around with some new writing projects lately.  Nothing specific yet, just allowing myself to write and see what happens (get out of the way and let the story come through).  And I’ve noticed that sometimes it takes me awhile to get to know a character.  I think I know her and then it turns out (if I get out of the way and let her talk) that she’s different than I thought.

This is sort of like getting to know a new friend.  You start out thinking one thing and then you have a conversation and see him in a completely new light.   And it truly is just as fun to get to know a character on paper as it is in person.  Maybe even more fun, because if they do something really crappy you have the power to make them be quiet for as long as you want.

The moral of the story is to do your best to, yes, you guessed it, get out of the way and let the character come to life on the page.

A head’s up for the future: if any of y’all are going to be in Nashville on the weekend of September 5th and 6th, I’m going to be presenting a workshop at the Path and Pen spiritual writing conference at Scarritt-Bennett.  I’m really excited; its going to be very fun.

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3 Comments on "True Confessions, No Not the Magazine"

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Linda R. Moore
Guest
12/15/2007 21:39

Don’t worry. Be happy. 😉

If you havr a bunch of emails asking the same question, you could answer them as a post and give the askers a bit of link love. I’m hopelessly behind with mine, as well. Better than I used to be, but still…hopeless. 😉

Deidre
Guest
Deidre
01/01/2008 14:49

Here’s my true confession, I think my mother is just about the last subscriber to True Confessions. She has read the thing for at least 35 years. The magazine itself seems trapped in the 1970s with big ads for Newport cigarettes.

She has also been known to suggest that I should write for said magazine. I told her that’s not really my speed. She called me a snob. Sigh.

Charlotte
Guest
01/01/2008 20:41

Thanks, Linda, it makes me feel better that I am not the only one hopelessly behind.

Deidre, I didn’t even know they still sold Newports. Years ago, I remember thinking that it would be a piece of cake to write up a story for True Confessions. But when I actually read the thing, I had a hard time wrapping my brain around anything remotely resembling a story that would suit them. Guess your mother would call me a snob, too.

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