Saturday, July 18, 2015
A Personal Thing
By Keith N Fisher
Do you remember kindergarten, when the teacher taught you to paint? Everybody stood behind a big easel with a huge sheet of paper and we were taught how to use the paints without making a mess.
Later, a model of some kind was placed in the center and we were told to draw it with paints. During a timed session we were left to transfer what we saw onto the page. Wasn’t it interesting?
No matter what the teacher used as a model, every painting was different. Not only because of artistic ability, but interpretation as well. As in adult life, we focus on different aspects. With a bowl of fruit, some artists paint the bowl, others place the banana in front of the apple, obliterating evidence that the grapes ever existed.
This is a great representation of individuality. It proves that unless somebody gives specific instructions and watches the progress, the results can vary. It also proves that people will follow their own heart.
God in his wisdom gave us a set of instructions and left us to follow our heart in fulfilling those directions. As we fulfill our destiny, we must allow others that freedom, too.
Just as there is no right or wrong way to draw the bowl of fruit, the final drawing is up to the individual. Therefore nobody has the right to criticize another person’s painting. Why do we think we are free to judge and direct another? As writers we tend to insert bits of personal ideals into our fiction. The rules of craft state we must remain apart, but we tend to put things into our character’s mouths the narrator must not say.
I am as guilty as anyone, but I found a problem. What if my opinion is wrong or offensive to somebody? Will the reader of my story grow to hate my character and by extension, hate me?
Even if you are not wrong, be careful with preaching through your characters. Even if that character is an antagonist, and you want the reader to hate them, there are some things that are best left unsaid.
Good luck with your writing—see you next week.