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Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Daily Exercise Getting Inside the Protagonist

Explaining better (or at least in more detail) something about writing I realized on 6/15/04:

It's not enough for me to understand the viewpoint character intellectually. I need to get inside that character's way of thinking.

Example of success: He's grown up in a society where people grow their own vegetables Just In Case. Intellectually, he knows that 1) the food shortages never got really bad in North America, 2) there's no longer much danger of shortages, and 3) most people don't have enough land to grow all the food they might need. But he's still horrified at the idea of planting a yard in grass or other inedible vegetation.

I've become able to look at yards and feel the same reaction he would.

Non-success: For him, "They had themselves brainwashed into being in love, and lived happily ever after" is a happy ending. He has difficulty understanding why someone raised in a different society might be squicked out by this. If people freely choose to have their minds rewritten, what's the problem?

I've been looking at that mindset from the outside; I haven't gotten inside it. And that's been stalling the story.
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