By Lonnie Cruse
This one's kinda for writers, but I hope you readers will weigh in as well. Please, feel free to do so, in the comments section!
Writers, do you write only female or only male characters? Think you can't write a character of the opposite sex? Think it won't be believable? No one will want to read it? C'mon, don't be chicken!
Even if it's just a short story, why not try writing a character who is totally different from you? Different gender, different ethnicity, different job, different spouse, different family, different beliefs, different everything you can imagine. Why? Because it will stretch you as a writer. Stretch your thinking and your abilities. It will probably force you to do more research. More thinking. More imagining. And you will learn a lot, about what other people are like, what they think like. How they got to be who they are.
Getting to know why people are who they are can be fascinating. Mind you, I do not believe our background is always an excuse for our adult behavior. Yes, many people are severely damaged in childhood. That doesn't mean (to me) that we should pat a serial killer on the head and send him/her on their merry way because they had a very bad childhood. There are ways to get help and survive that. But it IS fascinating to hear about the backgrounds/childhoods of various individuals to see what helped shape their adult lives. And maybe to write about it?
Stretching yourself as a writer can lead you in amazing directions. You learn more about what makes people tick, you learn more about yourself, about your talents, etc, and you learn whether or not you can move into other, different areas of writing.
It's scary, but moving in new directions is also exciting. I've gone from writing one series with a male sheriff lead character to a female retired teacher as my lead character to writing non-fiction self-help for women. Each stage has really helped me understand myself and others and led me into a new career.
How about you? Time for a change? Want to be somewhere else in your writing life next year or in the next five years? Just something for you to mull.
Okay, readers, weigh in. Do you like it when a favorite author branches out in a new direction? I know you hate it when a favorite author stops writing your favorite characters, but will you follow that author into a new direction? How loyal are you, and why? Your thoughts? And thanks, as always, for stopping by!