Who Happens Next?

One aspect of writing fiction is the dilemma of writer’s block. The writer sits before a blank sheet of paper tapping a pencil in dismay or suspending anxious fingers above a keyboard . What happens next? is the silent cry echoing in her head.

But I’m not sure this is the correct question, or that answering it ultimately solves the problem.

The better question is Who happens next?

I came across this realization while reading one of a dozen author autobiographies writing about their craft. I read this maxim so long ago I cannot attribute it to the writer.

Do I get writer’s block when composing narratives? Rarely. There are other demons that arrive on my laptop screen I struggle with (They, too, arrive uninvited.).

But there’s wisdom here: writer’s block results from not knowing your characters well enough. It’s less an issue of plot development than character development. I’ll admit, it is counterintuitive. Think of it this way: Characters are the story. Knowing a character intimately and living inside her head moves the reader deeper into all the other elements.

Isn’t this true about our lives as well? Call to mind any incident in your life and ask yourself—Who happened next? The result is eye-opening.

Characters Matter. And what is life full of, anyway?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s