So this is why studying the old “masters” are important: sometimes their writing can reach across centuries and happened speak to readers at just the right time. That is what happened last night when I read “The Art of Fiction” excerpt by Henry James last night.
James said that the novelist should be concerned with both character and incident. This is where I err. I’m all about incident and I’m not as concerned with character as I should be. I like knowing what happened rather than who it happened to. For instance, when I was a child,my parents used to take me to the local amusement park. They would often take breaks and people-watch whereas I was there for the rides and people-watching was so boring.
I realize that I’m not really focusing enough on my characters and their characterization. I need to either get better at illustrating my characters in the outlining/rough draft phase (character sketches) or I may need to do a “character pass” in the revision phase to ensure my characters are real characters and not simply “ciphers” for the incident that I want to relate. Henry James has given me something to consider to help me become a better writer. Thanks to Dr. Renfroe for assigning him for me to read for class!