Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Wish we could hold these moments in our hands forever...

Many months ago I penned that phrase in an email to one of my sisters. We were discussing her reaction to a joyous event, but as I sent the email it occurred to me that in my books, I have the opportunity to create moments that might just endure forever. Forever? Forever is a really long word. But I take the lives of my characters seriously, analyzing their reactions, considering character strengths and flaws, carefully allocating each word they speak. If I’m then able to capture the joy and pain and hidden emotion in their lives, well, I will have succeeded. Forever.

Every writer I know spends weeks delving into the backgrounds of their characters to create a true reaction to every encountered obstacle, while at the same time matching the cadence of that character’s voice to an upbringing that is only imagined, yet to the writer, so very real. Our characters live and breathe. Their goals are ours; their beliefs and love and family, all of it, forever.

And then there’s world building. Whether based on reality or fantasy, that created world has its own rules, bureaucracy, construction, inhabitants, flora, and physical reality. Our characters live there. For them, that world is as real as it is for me, forever.

Forever intimidates me, just a little. What if 40 or 50 years from now, my books are pulled off a dusty shelf to be read or re-read? If my words impact someone’s life that far in the future, well, that kind of feels like forever.

Forever! What an unreasonably long word! -- Folio


  1. What an aswesome way to think of writing. I've thought of it hat way a couple times when I've taught -- because I sometimes hear past teachers voices in my own head and I know its forever, but I never thought of it in writing.

    That'll help get me through a difficult chapter!

  2. Wow, nothing like putting pressure on us! Having just had something that was published 15 years ago resurface in an anthology, I am scared what might live on forever. I'm such a different (I would hope more insightful and mature) person than I was. I'm not sure I want my words to live forever. I embrace my shallowness; let my words be fleeting!

  3. Forever feels like sharing hopes and dreams, fun and sadness. Long-lasting Camaraderie with readers. Sister Inkpot

  4. Thanks for the thought of Forever. I can't bear to go back and reread the forever words I wrote many years ago, before Inkpot taught me how to write, but at least the characters remain pure and true. We're so privileged, as fiction writers, to get to create those living characters--forever friends. Storm Petrel