This was another chapter about how you have to let your characters develop without having too many ideas about how you think it's going to turn out. You often start out one way, find it's a dead end, and then you have to start over again with your story. My favorite quote was about the best way to find out who your characters are.
"So if you want to get to know your characters, you have to hang out with them long enough to see beyond all the tings they aren't."
You really have to get to the essence of the person, to the bare bones of who they are, in order to fully understand them as a character. Only when you do this can you truly tell their story accurately and in its entirety.
This chapter really became clear to me after we had our editing sessions in my capstone class last week. Sometimes you have your story laid out the way you think that it should go. However, that might not be the best way to tell the story. I always have to fight the urge to put my picture stories in chronological order, which rarely fits the way the story needs to be told. There are other factors to consider when you are putting the stories together, such as how it flows.
Lamott talked about her experience writing a book, which had wonderful characters and events, but they simply didn't flow and allow the reader to get involved in the story. I guess I saw this in our photo stories when as a class we constantly were moving pictures around and changing the storyline. Even when people had put their photos up on the wall for the final critique, we were still moving pictures around so the story flowed better.
How Do You Know When You're Done?
"Of course, there will always be more you could do, but you have to remind yourself that perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor."
There really is no better way to put it than that. There is always more you can do, but at some point you have to be finished and admire the work you've done and just leave it alone. She said it perfectly.