Monday, 2 November 2009
Who shall I be today? : Linda Strachan
For me writing involves getting inside my characters almost in the way you might pull on a costume.Getting right inside their head and going through the emotions as they feel them, which is exhausting at times but it is such an important part of it that there are times I find myself wondering if I really want to dive right in there.
It is a little like going into the sea when you are not sure if the
water is perhaps just a bit too cold. The tentative dipping in of a toe, or just letting the water wash around your ankles until you feel brave enough to totally immerse yourself into the brisk, fresh sensation.
I started off writing books for quite young children, mostly warm and cuddly or just fun stories where at the worst the child, animal or childish character might become a little concerned, perhaps scared by the dark or be upset by being lost, but it quickly turns out well and happy.
I had avoided writing for teenagers for a long while, I think because the
thought of revisiting the angst of being a teenager never really appealed and I was worried because I wasn’t sure if I could, or would want to, relive the experience even from a character’s point of view.
I wonder if other writers feel the same and are wary of the emotional rollercoaster that their character might take them on? I now find myself writing rather dark books for teenagers, dipping into their most difficult times and giving my characters a truly hard time.
I think I am quite an upbeat and happy person normally, so where does that come from?
When I go into schools I often have the strange experience that in the morning I might be speaking to tiny nursery children, with lots of fun and cuddly toys as props, or slightly older ones with Hamish McHaggis and friends.
In the afternoon I might be facing a room full of young adults talking about the harshest things in life, death, injury, knives, blood and impossible decisions.
I have to admit that I enjoy the variety and challenge and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It is one of the things I love about what I do and it makes my life so varied – it never gets dull - just a bit hectic at times!
So whether it is sitting at my desk about to start writing or preparing for an author visit I find myself asking the question – Who shall I be today?
Linda's website is at www.lindastrachan.com