Quotes / Writing Advice / Writing Inspiration

from the inside out

Ondaatje. Enough said. But keep reading anyway.

Because here’s a little wisdom on the nature of characters that I thought was pretty interesting:

What interests me are the complications and nuances of character. Few of my characters are described externally; we see them from the inside out.

I like that.

In fact, unless it’s vitally important to the story, I don’t need a tonne of details about a character’s external or physical features. I’m not great at visualising that sort of thing anyway.

I’d much rather see them ‘from the inside’, learn about their personalities and their feelings first, then form my own ideas about how they look (if I ever really see them at all). It’s much more important to actually put ‘character’ into the characters.

And I think a lot of other readers and writers would feel the same.


4 thoughts on “from the inside out

  1. Same with the characters in mine. Usually I have a general idea of who they are – one or two traits, not necessarily the main ones – but over the course of time they tend to reveal a lot more about themselves to me, as long as I can earn their trust. I think all my characters are my friends to an extent, even the repugnant ones. What about you?

    • Hmm, that’s an interesting concept, of characters being friends. I can see what you mean, writers will always have special relationships with characters, though I don’t think they’re always ‘friends’ as such. I’m thinking of some characters I recently wrote into a short story, and they felt more like parental figures…

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