Monday, May 10, 2010

Writing Tips - Free Your Characters - Free Your Story

Guest post by Mark David Gerson

"God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light...."

Your act of creation is like God's in Genesis, an act of allowance, of letting...of surrender. Surrender to the story that calls to be written, surrender to how it calls to be written, surrender to the lives your characters choose to live. For, if you're writing fiction, those lives are your story.

Just as the Creator in most religious and spiritual traditions allows you the free will to live your imperative and forge your story through the living of it, your call is to allow the beings who leap from your heart, mind and vision the same freedom. Gently guide when necessary, but allow them -- and yourself -- to experience their story as it writes itself onto the page.

William Faulkner recognized this when he wrote, "It begins with a character, usually, and once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does."

Your job as creator, like William Faulkner's, is to let your characters and their story emerge from the formless void and to breathe life into them so that they -- and you -- can experience all they have come onto your page to live.

Let there be light...and there will be.

• Where are you not letting your characters tell their story and live their imperative?

• How can you free your characters to let them tell their story to you?

• Where are you being too controlling -- over your characters and over your story?

Adapted from The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write (c) 2008 Mark David Gerson

Mark David Gerson has taught writing as a creative and spiritual pursuit for nearly 20 years in the U.S. and Canada. Author of two award-winning books, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write (from which this article is adapted) and The MoonQuest: A True Fantasy, Mark David has also recorded The Voice of the Muse Companion: Guided Meditations for Writers. For more information on Mark David, for more inspiration or to subscribe to his free newsletter, visit and

(c) Copyright - Mark David Gerson. All Rights Reserved.

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