Writing

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Sstory guru Lisa Cron recently wrote an excellent article for Writer Unboxed, Don’t Accidentally Give Your Characters a Time Out, where she asked the question: Where do your characters go when they aren’t in the scene you’re writing? Although the answer seems obvious (“Well, they’re doing stuff”), I realized I hadn’t fully considered the question and that I was probably as guilty as anyone about ignoring my little babies one they exited the stage. The good news: they say that half the battle is knowing, so once I knew I was guilty of character-neglect, I took action. I decided to work out what had happened to my novel’s citizens thus far and see what trajectories they were on – and what actions they’ll take as a result – while offstage, and then see how that exercise impacted the overall narrative of the story.

I started with Isabelle’s godfather, Vincent Auvray. (Isabelle is the protagonist of The Gospel of Isabelle Dequenne.)

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But hurry, let's entwine ourselves as one, our mouth broken, our soul bitten by love, so time discovers us safely destroyed.

Federico Garcia Lorca, Sonnet of the Garland of Roses

Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Ttoday I am a writer. A writer with a day job, but a writer nonetheless.

I’m not one to define a person by their work or their occupation. Never have been. I believe that people are far more complex and multi-faceted…too nuanced and with too many sedimentary layers piled up on the seabed of their soul…to define them by the work they do to pay the rent and put new Nikes on the kids. I certainly never want to be defined by my day job. I’m not a Business Continuity Manager or a Change Management Manager or a network engineer any more than I was a fisherman when I worked on salmon boats in Alaska. Whether or not I was masquerading as a fisherman (or a Business Continuity Manager or a Change Management Manager or a network engineer) is debatable, but commercial fishing was never who I was. It was something I did in order to pull together the money to support the person I did define myself as at that time: a traveler.

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