If You Want to Write: Personality

“But since he has no true feelings about poverty, nothing to offer about it, neither do you, the reader, have any feelings about it. There is no infection.” – Brenda Ueland

Passion and personality: The difference between good writers and great writers. The difference between a good story and a story no one remembers.

In this chapter, Ueland discusses what she calls the “third dimension”. It is the personality behind the words and ideas.

Depending on the reader, seeing a writer’s personality can be the deal breaker. If there is no personality, why should your reader care what you have to say? Ueland also references Chekhov’s idea for fiction, “to pose a question but never answer it.” According to Chekhov, as soon as you answer it, the reader knows you are lying or trying to prove something. That’s the beauty of writing as art; it’s all about interpretation.

What does your writing say about you?

Honest writing exemplifies its author. If you look closely, you can see certain personality traits from the author(s). Here are a few examples from recent posts:

1. I think we CAN all get along. I think various kinds of fans CAN get along, and many kinds of fans can exist within one person – you can be a fan of games, electronic entertainment, sports, literature, history, natural science, etc. I know you can be, because I am a fan of aspects of all those things.

2. No matter the animal, we grow attached to them. Sometimes we talk to them when we can’t talk to anyone else – animals can’t gossip or argue. In fact, they may be the only ones in the world we can completely trust. There’s no judgment or criticism.

3. Despite the accident, I did return the next year; though it was unremarkable for the most part. I did get a ridiculous case of athlete’s foot from the community shower. I also saw a boy cut off most of his thumb with a hatchet. Nothing matched the bus accident though.

What do you notice about the writers?

  • I see writer one is accepting and open-minded, but he wants and possibly expects others to be as accepting and tolerant.
  • Writer two doesn’t trust easily, and she sometimes feels alone and judged – so much so, that animals fill a void people cannot.
  • In the third passage, the author shows fearlessness in a potentially traumatic situation. However, he also uses humor to make light of the situation that may still haunt him.

Fun, right?! This week, pick an article, post, or book, and look beyond the words and images. What do you learn about your author’s personality? Also, think about what your readers will say about you. Feel free to share your thoughts below!

Read more tips on writing and grammar.

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