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A journalist has to separate how they feel about issues from how they write a news story. As a writer of fiction, I am not bound by journalistic standards, but I am bound by creative writing standards that are not steadfast, but are heartfelt.

The danger there is writing stories that come out like someone writing songs that all sound the same. I wrote a story, now dormant (to be reworked down the road) where the protagonist is an acclaimed musician. I’m currently working on a story where the protagonist is a musician by night, a physical therapist by day. In writing her character, I try to make her not as confident or as able as the character in the first story. They need to be distinctive, even if they are not in the same story.

Personalities should be different, although it is inevitable that a little bit of me shows up in every character. Sometimes that little bit of me is a failure or shortcoming. At other times it is the character opining on politics or a current issue. I’m pro choice, and in most cases, my characters will be pro choice, if the subject has relevance to the story.

Along the same lines, a character opining has to be believable. None of us exist in a vacuum. If we put forth an opinion, someone will give a counter-argument. I try to write in the challenges, again where a debate scene is called for, but I do give my pov sway, or at worst send my character into contemplation of a point of view.

The more I write, I grow comfortable experimenting, sort of like the rigidity of newly licensed drivers versus the relaxed mode of the more experienced. I can veer or dodge an issue or point of view, create drama, or even a character that prefers to leave it all alone.

In my current work, the protagonist has a bad leg that causes her to occasionally smoke pot. I personally do not smoke, though I did in my younger days (last in 1984.) She gets spotted and reported on in newspapers who are intrigued by her twin sister, who runs for public office. In one scene, the two sisters briefly debate the issue of pot, and in it I get to write in how I feel about the issue. Creative writing gives me a way to write out, to role play my views.

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