There are a couple of characters in my WIP that I worry about writing about because I’m afraid I don’t know them well enough — I’m afraid they’ll end up as caricatures (which is funny, because for them to end up that way I actually have to sit down and write, something I’m finding more and more reasons not to do these days).
A friend just had a baby whom she named Zora, which led me to think “Isn’t there an author by that name?” which led me to Zora Neale Hurston, which led me to this article about an author who had an epiphany about writing about things beyond her own experience while reading a book by Hurston. I particularly liked what she said about imagination:
“I’ve found that, if I focus on doing the work every day, the imagination part starts to take care of itself. The beautiful thing about imagination is how it keeps opening doors for your characters to walk through. You’ll be surprised—they’ll walk through these doors, if you free yourself to allow that to happen.”
The secret, as every successful author will tell you, is to do the work every day. Let it come to you. I’ll have to work on that.
In the meantime, enjoy the article.
The novelist Angela Flournoy discusses how Zora Neale Hurston helped her imagine characters and experiences alien to her.