Giving blood then removing the self

by Amber Keyser
Published on: August 14, 2013
Categories: Craft
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Recently, I read an article (which sadly I can’t put my fingers on again) about realistic, multi-dimensional character building.  The author suggested “giving blood.”  In other words, if we bring our own deeply-held and often painful experiences into our characters, they become well-rounded.

My friends know I’m a “method” writer, which means there is a lot of blood-letting on my pages, but during the revision process, I find it necessary to reverse the process and remove myself from the work.  When one of the Scrivas observed that the mom’s narrative was over-whelming that of my main character, it’s because too much of me remains.

The good thing is that the characters have taken on a life of their own during the process so when I strip the authorial voice and experience out of the manuscript, something good and true remains.

Take a minute to think through where your own experiences motivate the action in the manuscript and where they overshadow it.  Perhaps like me, you need to both give and take during revision.

Post Revisions:

This post has not been revised since publication.

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