True story: recently someone who knows that I’m a writer in search of publication had a chance to ask Stephen King a question by way of a chat session on a website. The question was:
“What’s the biggest piece of advice you could give to new writers?”
Stephen King answered, “I think the most important piece of advice I can give to a writer is let the characters lead and never try to force them into things they don’t want to do.”
Of course he wasn’t advising that we keep our characters out of hot water and never pour on the conflict. While I don’t have a way of asking him a follow-up question, I’m very confident that what he meant was that we have to have authentic characters…people who have personality traits and personal worldviews (i.e. philosophies of life) that stay consistent throughout the story. And these characters must be able to carry the story. Good characters take us on a journey, allowing us to see the story through their eyes.
Do you agree? Name one great character you’ve read recently.
Also, what one piece of advice would YOU give new writers?