Do the characters then have “feelings”? I’m trying to understand how some imaginary characters that you have made up can feel “disrespected?”
I don’t know how common this is among writers, it’s not something that I have discussed a lot but one thing that I noticed from an early point in my writing is that in a lot or if not in most of my stories, it’s the characters – yes, that I have created – have told me what the story is and how things would naturally unfold given the character traits and combination of characters that are interacting in the story. Despite the fact that I’m following a plot outline of where I think the story should go, when I try to write my characters to follow that plot, they offer resistance as if they are telling me that what I wanted them to do was actually going against their character and not something that they would do in that situation. To continue to do so, would then feel to me like I was forcing the story. If I’m being sensitive to my characters, then I change the plot or rather have them tell me what the plot should be.
If that’s the case, then my next question almost answers itself. Do you outline a story before you begin?
Sometimes, but usually not, or rather, I may start with a very broad outline and know that that may or may not be the way the story is going to go. I stay very flexible.
Because your characters may tell you a different way to go?
Yes. I experimented with “characters determining the story” in one of my early plays where I decided to put two characters into a confined space (an elevator that stalls between floors) and based on some brief descriptive parameters (one is male, one female, both middle-aged), and through their interaction with each other have them tell me who they were and what was going to happen. I simply let them talk to each other and have it develop from there.
What happened? Did anything happen?
Yes, surprisingly. Being confined in a shared space, they had to talk to each other. They slowly developed very strong personalities that were so different to each other that through exploration and conversation, they ultimately clashed and went to some very weird places between and within themselves.
This was a fully developed play or a writing exercise?
It started as a writing exercise for myself but through rewrites and staged readings it developed into a producible play. There are plans to give it a full production next March in Los Angeles.
Tell us about your book? What’s it about and why did you write it?
Zen and Sex is about many things but on one level it is an atypical romantic comedy that explores what it takes to have a successful relationship in this modern age. I wrote it in part because of some non-fiction reading I was doing at the time that referenced some research that highlighted the difference inherent in the sexes with which each of us approach male-female relationships. There were some definite biological and psychological gender differences spoken about which in some ways form a foundation upon which the two sexes attempt to build a mutually successful understanding of one another.
This novel explores the role that dreams play in the healing of the body/mind/spirit.
Robert Munro, a therapist specializing in dream interpretation, awoke one morning to find himself in a dream from which he could not awaken. Experiencing first hand the limitations of his own training and theories, he must solve the puzzle of his own dream in order to break free from its bondage. In the process, he’ll better understand himself, other people, and the nature of consciousness itself.
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Genre - Literary Fiction
Rating – PG