The most profound act of love, in all of love’s intoxicating forms, is to be seen.
What we really mean by this is that we want to be heard. We want people to truly understand us and accept us. We know judgment is inevitable but we want all judgement to be informed and thoughtful.
As writers we are mainly feminine or masculine…very few are equally both. This means that we see people through our own point of view and through a lifetime of our own emotions and experiences.
When trying to get the reader to really see the person of the characters we create, we have to expose them, to show their vulnerabilities and to express their strengths. Our role is to know them better than anyone else. Our responsibility is to love them equally for their strengths as we do for their weaknesses.
So how do we do that? We have to become them as we write them into the plot. We have to know them almost as well as we know ourselves as we express them in the narrative. We have to become deeply intimate with them. We either write them because we live and breath their lives or we write about them. Dispassionately and uninvolved.
One way to really know them is to get them to write a letter to you that is so profoundly intimate that you cannot help but to write their character as though you are them. Maybe give it a try to see if it works for you (top tip: don’t hold back)…here is a letter that Leila wrote to me, me as one of the other characters, Finn…her Danish male lover.
They both have to fit the narrative in their unique way. And if we are really doing our job, they have to be seen differently by each of the other characters. In this way, they will become the story itself and the plot will travel lightly upon their roles.
We don’t see people as they are, we see people as we are.