Friday, February 29, 2008

I should have said

There are times in our lives when we experience events for which we're not quite prepared. An hour, a day, or a week later we have that smack-the-head moment when we think, "What I should have said was--"

That's the nice thing about being a writer. Even though we can't go back in time and rewrite reality, we certainly can recreate that moment in our fiction and make ourselves--um, er--make our protagonist say the things we should have said. We can cut our antagonist to the bone, prevent our lover from walking out the door, or get that promotion.


Anonymous said...

What did the protagonist say that the writer didn't?

Michael Bracken said...

I think what the protagonist says will be unique to the situation, and will often be edited and revised before reaching print. What the writer says, unfortunately, is usually first draft and he has no way of pulling back the words for revision.

But the best line has to be one stolen from a movie. There is nothing better than when Jack Nicholson's character Melvin Udall, a writer of women's fiction, no less, says to Helen Hunt's character Carol Connelly in "As Good As It Gets": "You make me want to be a better man."