we write the words and the words write us

As a virgin blogger and a virgin reader of blogs, I have been struck by the number of bloggers who state explicitly that blogging/writing/sharing has been a way of helping them get through difficult phases of their life and/or working through difficult personal issues; often these difficulties and issues are ongoing. There is a long history of writing as catharsis and my comment is pure cliché territory [nothing to see here, move along please]. Who doesn’t have an unpublished autobiographical novel lying in a drawer [or in drop box these days], some of us even have a pile of short stories of similar ilk. What has inspired me to comment today is how others’ experience of blogging may be linked to a comment made by an assessor on my novel-in-progress, referring to my main female character. I had written her as a strong, independent and badly damaged person seeking redemption; the assessor saw her as a manipulative, self-centred, needy and generally unlikeable person. Not at all what I intended! Close re-reading confirms that the assessor is correct. So, what is happening here? How do our characters ‘take over’ during the writing process? What is happening consciously and unconsciously? What cathartic processes were taking place without my knowing?
Of course all this may be the product of my poor writing, though the assessment of the manuscript overall was very positive.

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