03.04.2021: Interiority

One of the writers in my group recently suggested we explore the method of ‘interiority in writing’. The intention is to help us gain a greater understanding of our characters minds regardless of whether or not we use the material we come up with. 

My research into this topic has led me to the following question: is there such a thing as good writing and bad writing? When I was in school, I was taught that there most certainly was good writing and bad writing. 

As a pre-teen, teen and into my early twenties, I enjoyed reading first-person narratives. They allowed me to feel closer to the characters. I wanted to know every single thought they had and why. It needed to be explicitly stated. 

But now, much like my tastes in food, my tastes in writing styles have changed. I much prefer third-person narratives filled with symbolism and foreshadowing and all those fun literary devices that writers play around with. I like to look for hints of what a person is feeling, it adds to the mystery. There are those that suggest the method of ‘show don’t tell’ is overrated. Growing up, I was one of those people. But now, ‘show don’t tell’ is a challenge that I enjoy exploring in my own writing and I love reading it in others. 

What I was taught in school no longer rings true. Now there are writings that I enjoy and resonate with, and writings that I don’t. That does not make the latter bad writing. I would add that as a writer it is important to explore different writing styles and see which one(s) challenges you the most, which one(s) you enjoy the most and which one(s) help you get to the heart of your story. 

Here end my musings for today. 

For anyone wishing to explore interiority in their characters, here are a few methods to try:

  1. What does your character daydream about?
  2. What are some of your character’s sleep-dreams?
  3. If you are a third-person POV writer – try converting a couple of paragraphs into first person and see if you glean anything further from your character’s mind in doing so. 
  4. Keep a diary as your character. 
  5. Write letters from your character, they can be letters to the other characters and/or letters to you as the author. 

Copyright ©2021 Saraswathi Sukumar. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of all material on this site without express and written permission from the copyright owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Saraswathi Sukumar with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

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