I’m about to start a new exciting course about writing fiction at The University of Oxford. I am constantly eager to learn something new - I guess I have always been pretty bookish. And although I am very comfortable just sitting down and letting my imagination flow and my fingers make the magic, I find that writing can also be extremely self-centred and isolated. So having like-minded people that can bring me a new perspective is important.
Browsing through the available courses I noticed that little has been added since my uni days. Austen, Dickens, the Brönte sisters, Hardy, George Eliot, to name but a few, are still the genius behind the golden era of the novelistic genre and their masterpieces are at the heart of our studies today.
Our attraction to plots and characters has, however, evolved. Nowadays, we are more attracted to what I call ‘Psychological depth’. So, what do I mean by that? Well, there is absolutely no doubt that Dickens, Hardy or any of the authors above were masters of the language. Dickens' description of places is so sublime that we can clearly see them through the eyes of his characters. However, it is not always easy to feel their emotions.
Times have changed and with them our reasons to connect with a story. I’m no longer satisfied with beautiful prose, I want to get under the skin of the characters. I want to relate with them, to associate with their passions, loves, fears, insecurities. I supposed this ties in with the social media phenomenon that has taken over the world. We are interested in other people’s lives as a way to observe different points of view, whether if it’s to agree or disagree.
I want to create characters that resonate with my readers. It is in the ability of depicting their emotions with words were the magic happens. Words become a painting brush, that stroke by stroke, defines thoughts, feelings and lives, turning pages into canvases that represent reality.
Next week, I will be sharing with you my favourite tools to create fictional points of view. In the meantime, keep reading!