It’s easy to make characters’ self-perceptions accurate. It’s simpler for the writer, and for the reader, though it’s probably less satisfying for both. But a couple of things I’ve stumbled across this morning gave me interesting ways to break this pattern.
For real human beings, accurate self-perception is hard. I have a wobbly grasp of my own abilities at the best of times. I thought I was good at painting until I made a blobby mess of our bannisters yesterday, while my career trajectory has been marked a lack of belief in my own aims. Insight is hard work, and we often don’t even know we need to do that work.
When writing characters, on the other hand, it’s self-deception that’s tricky. You as the writer have a clear idea of who this person is, and you want to get that onto the page. One of your mechanisms…
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