Alison Clement

observations from a novelist who sometimes wants to say something small and see it published immediately

painting all the wrong rooms

I always felt negligent because I don’t write biographies of my characters before putting them into my stories, like the writing books say to do. I don’t make lists. I don’t think about their favorite colors, hobbies, the kind of car they drive, their childhood. I put them in and see what develops.  So lazy. So impatient. Then yesterday I read an article in which someone compared the autobiographical sketch of things not intended for the story to painting all the other rooms in your house in preparation for painting the room that needs to be painted, and, yes, that’s exactly what it feels like. I just needed to hear someone say it.

Why is it so easy to distrust our own process?

Categories: writing


3 replies

  1. We need to move towards a post-capitalist aesthetic. Sounds like a good topic of discussion for our next coffee date. :^)

    • I’m with you, Eric. Like my husband says, we need to move towards a post-capitalist world.

    • I’m now writing a novel for the middle-grade reader. Agents require certain genres. For instance, horror or science fiction. My novel has a diabolical character, who tries to clone himself for evil reasons. Not sure how category this fits in. I’m tempted to continue writing and then go back and modify to fit the agent’s interest. I do not like being micro-managed!

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