Famous playwright Harold Pinter once said when he is writing his plays he doesn’t know who is behind the door until it opens.
Pinter lets his characters tell the story. Well I’m certainly no Pinter, but I can say I have experienced the same. It happens when my first draft is going really well, when it flows effortlessly and my characters are talking to me. I just need to listen.
Will character X leave her husband? How does X talk, act, think? If I listen to X, she will tell me.
If I listen, my writing feels unforced and carries with it a certain heat and depth of experience that hopefully resonates. When my writing is forced, it’s uninspired, unauthentic, flat.
Perhaps I’m not always in the right frame of mind when I’m writing. Frankly, I don’t always know until it’s too late. All I know is when my writing is flat, it’s as if X has shut the door and gone into hiding.
And, by God, the silence is deafening.