Homo Sapiens (Artist’s Impression)
Being a writer is a lot like being an actor. You have to get inside the heads of your characters, figure out how they think, what they’re feeling, and why. There’s just one little problem; understanding how people besides myself think and feel is like open heart Klingon rocket surgery to me.
For a long time, I’ve wondered if this means I cannot be an effective fiction writer; whether my characters will always come across as inorganic puppets that can’t be related to. Whenever I write character development, I feel like I’m poorly imitating something I don’t understand, like I’m waddling around a paddock in a horse costume, trying to convince real horses that I’m one of them.
I’ve written 8 novels and novellas to date, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt satisfied that I’ve created believable human beings. They always feel like Frankenstein’s monsters, stitched together from my observations of other people’s behaviour.
Still, there’s a bright side to the conundrum; I can never tell when my writing doesn’t work, but I’m equally blind to when it does work. I tend to be overly critical of myself and my work, and this could simply be another example of me assuming the worst.
In the end, it’s for the readers to decide.