by Chris Hedges source New Scientist headline How a writer’s own famous quotes helped to define his character article by Chris Hedges – The article will be published in the journal Science on February 24.
In his book The Great Gatsby, Robert Louis Stevenson had a famous quote from Gatsby which he said: “I like to say I’m just a guy.
You’ll have to call me a man if you want to know me”.
Hedges points out that a famous person is a person who is known in the public eye for something or someone, who is a product of public attention.
It is this recognition that drives a character to write, and this characterisation has been central to the way in which a person defines themselves.
Hedgers notes that the writer who most strongly identifies with a famous writer is probably a person whose fame has a lot to do with their character, as they are the person who best understands and defines themselves in the eyes of the public.
“The more famous a person, the more the writer’s personality emerges,” he says.
Hes also notes that this character development has helped the writer to develop their craft.
“It’s often said that the best writers have the greatest skill sets.
If that’s true, it’s not surprising that the better writers are also the most talented, and that is true of most professions,” he adds.
To understand why this is, Hedges points to the famous artist’s work.
“An artist is a storyteller.
It’s his or her job to tell the story,” Hedges says.”
They can make you believe in something, to imagine something else, to create something you wouldn’t have thought of yourself.
They create the story that people will want to share.”
Heddges argues that in the real world, the artist’s most valuable contribution is often to create an aura of authenticity, and to create a unique voice.
“Artists who create the aura of being a story-teller can create a powerful connection to their audiences,” he said.
When we create the illusion of being authentic, we can’t tell stories, and we can never tell them honestly.
We can only write what we think we know.”
The writer’s ability to create this aura of trust and authenticity has enabled the writer as a writer to create character, which is what characterisation is about.”
When a character’s personality is formed, that character is more likely to come to life, and as a result, the writer is able to craft the character that the reader wants to follow.” “
And the more a character is made to feel like a real person, rather than a fictional one, the better the writer can write.”
When a character’s personality is formed, that character is more likely to come to life, and as a result, the writer is able to craft the character that the reader wants to follow.”
To explore this further, Hedgers looked at the work of authors who have been interviewed about their characters.”
These writers are all known for the things they write about,” he notes.”
For example, in the case of Michael Crichton, the greatest novelist of all time, he wrote about himself.
“He wrote about his own experience, his own character and his own work.
This is the essence of characterisation, the thing that distinguishes the author from the rest of us.
The more a writer is inspired by their characters, the greater the quality of their work becomes.”
He points to a classic example of this in a biography of Groucho Marx, who wrote the autobiographical novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
“[Marx] used to tell his biographer that Huckleberries were his favourite books and that he had written them for Hucklebees.
So when he saw this, he was shocked.”
Huckleberries are not the kind of book that comes with a ‘Huckleberry’ and ‘Humble’ label.
Marx was an incredibly imaginative and creative writer.
“Hedresses book explores how famous authors, writers and artists have used characterisation as a storytelling tool to define themselves.”
Characters define their own identities,” he concludes.”
And if characters are defined in terms of their character traits, then they will be defined by those traits in the end.