You Can’t Blame the Character

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Truman Capote said that “you can’t blame a writer for what the characters say.” I must agree with that, at least that is what I would have myself to believe. When I began writing Dancing Naked in the Rain, I decided to just let the characters do and say what they wanted. Maybe it was a way of taking part in some behavior from which I’ve always shied away. Maybe I just wanted and needed to know what it was like to be a bit more daring. At any rate, I convinced myself to let Megan, the main character in my first novel, do and say anything that popped into her head (or was it my head?).

I discovered a lot of stuff about myself that I wouldn’t have possibly discovered had I not written Dancing Naked. That’s pretty tough to admit. Actually, now that I think of it, I’d do just about everything she did, that is if I had the nerve (she’s a gutsy lady).

John Cheever wrote that “the legend that characters run away from their authors—taking up drugs, having sex operations, and becoming president—implies that the writer is a fool with no knowledge or mastery of his craft. The idea of authors running around helplessly behind their cretinous invention is contemptible.”

Whoops!