Writing Has Changed Me
On 3/12/2016, I started writing a fictional book. Since that fateful day, I have noticed changes in my life. My attitude is slightly more liberal. I am a bit more socially responsible and a bit more carefree.
Why did this occur? An author must get into the minds of the characters. These “people” need to think, react, feel, and act far differently than an author’s humble life. An author cannot simply duplicate themselves. Let me be clear. Nobody wants to read about the adventures of Bill Conrad, Super Engineer! Spoiler: His secret identity is a part-time author. Just yesterday, in an epic display of courage, he FULLY overcame an obsolete resistor. (Insert “We are the Champions” music.) Yeah, not best-seller material.
A good story has conflict, personality, and depth. To achieve this, authors must connect with their characters. To do this, an author must put their (boring) life aside and think independently. Then, they can mentally build a fictional scene and plop characters inside. This effort requires compassion to be successful. I have invented scenes and characters so often that it took away some of my conservative personality, leading to a more balanced life.
I had not thought about this change until I wrote this article. Granted, it is a minor change, but it is a change that I wholly attribute to a different type of thinking. Is this change an improvement? Honestly, I am not sure. Most people resist change. They like their simple lives, and I am no exception. If I were to guess, being slightly more liberal is a wonderful change. Am I comfortable with it? I think so. The change is defiantly a new chapter. Ha, get it? A book reference.
After my first draft, my beta reader (mom) pointed out that my characters lacked depth and they did not have appropriate descriptions. A sad person walks into a room and says, “Hello.” How were they dressed? What did the room look like? Why were they sad? What was their name? Man or woman? Yeah, that was all missing.
I solved this problem by putting more effort into studying the people I saw. They were no longer faces in the crowd but little gems to be described. That woman over there. Her hair is “flowing and fresh.” No. I can do better. Her hair is “naturally bouncy, and it brightens her face.” Better, but not great. Spice it up. Her hair is “spiky blue which makes her face pop.” Hmm. Now we are getting somewhere. Keep trying.
I wanted to know a person’s backstory, history, choices, and why they were here at that moment. Since I do not enjoy striking up random conversations, I fill in the blanks based on their appearance. That man in the suit over there. I bet he is a rich guy. What would happen if somebody handed him $100? Would he accept the money or decline it?
This change was a fascinating addition to my personality, but making up facts about a person I have not met can feel creepy. I certainly would not like a description of my nose or how I would react to a monster attack. I just threw this shirt on. I was not thinking of the bold statement it would make about my personality.
Do I have any emotional attachment to random people I analyze or throw into plots? No, this is just a mental exercise, and I often forget these random thoughts. What about my co-workers and friends? Yes, I study them, but not too closely. People are wise, and staring gets noticed.
Do I study myself? I have always studied myself. I try to be a better person, and I try to treat people better. I observe how others react to my decisions and learn from my mistakes. Writing has helped in this area, as I have a more focused approach. I also ask myself better questions.
How significant is this change in my life? 10%. Does that mean I am 10% changed or 10 % better? Hard to say because my mind is telling me the percentage, and I know that my mental outlook is still conservative. How about 5% better? Umm, how about 5% mostly better? There is that conservative mind kicking in. What will happen in my future? I anticipate a 5% increase over the next 20 years. However, life is unpredictable. You, over there. Watch out. A monster is coming!

You’re the best -Bill
August 15, 2018 Updated July 22, 2023
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