Or, why I serve my daughter (slightly) expired milk

You can read my blog post about writing Midwestern characters over at BookTrib. Thanks again to Booktrib for the support!


  1. David Zimmerman says:

    Funny, this was posted on my birthday (it kind of fits; I have a bad habit of eating expired food ><)

    So in the BookTrib post, you assert that "[p]lace isn’t just where you’re from or where a story is set, it’s what defines you and your characters." When creating a new character, I always try to give him/her a particular place as a home, but I keep having a hard time envisioning what someone from that particular place would act/talk. The challenge for me is crafting a genuinely rooted person without knowing the slightest bit about the true nature of people who live there.

    In my revision story, it's hard to get into the characters' heads because I've never been to 19th century California (or regular-century California, for that matter). I've moved quite a few times in my life, so I have no real "anchor" label like Southerner or Midwesterner. Would you say that this puts me at a disadvantage because I don't have at least one solid frame of reference, or an advantage because I've gotten bits and pieces of different types of people?

  2. erin flanagan says:

    That’s an interesting question! I think knowing where someone comes from and how that effects them is an important element in character, but certainly not the only one that defines someone. For me, I found it became more and more important the longer I’ve written, but for you, it may be something else, or it may be that not having a real anchor is what defines some of your characters in a crucial way. After reading your revision, I can see that. I think in many ways your main character is looking for that center, and it feels to me you’ve touched on something true with that.

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