Not Judging Your Characters

newspaper isolated

I remember during a stint in news reporting realising stories had a better chance of being picked up by the news editor (city editor in US) if they provoked some sort of emotion in the reader. Being journalism it was often fear or anger!

But isn’t a news story just be a selection of facts (presented interestingly enough to engage the reader)? There’s no room for emotion. One of the cardinal sins in news reporting is “editorialising” i.e. commenting or expressing an opinion in the story.

And yet the emotion is there. (In fact, the opinion of the writer is still there in the selection of facts used.)

I’ve found one of the hard things writing fiction is to write characters without passing judgement on them.

Just to present their actions and leave the reader to respond to them as they would to another human being if they were in that situation.

Let the emotion flow from the story – not from telling the reader how to think.

My first book (released in September) is science fiction and set partly in a dystopian parallel world – and I tried to make it an experience without judgement.

Just to present the “facts” in the story.


By Henry Anderson

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