I love reading memoir, and have for a long time. I’ve been reading memoir since I was a child, so naturally, when I heard about The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr, I jumped on it. Ashley from Climb The Stacks recommended this, and the link goes to her video review of the book.
As it turns out, no human being is truly original. We are all made up of a set of traits that makes us unique, but there is no real original situation. So how do you write a character who is completely unlike you in every way? For example, and this is a character we are going to workshop today, a Korean adoptee whose family is white who grew up in the northwest of the United States and has an interest in becoming a Broadway tap dancer. These are a series of ideas that are unique to a single human beings experience. So let’s break this character down into a workable, life-like person. I have chose a bunch of characteristics that I am not. I am not Korean American, nor an adoptee. I have not grown up in a white family, nor have I grown up in the Northwest. I have no interest in becoming a Broadway tap dancer. I have chosen these characteristics to demonstrate how to write a character that you are not. Let’s get started!