Central Casting

On Writer Unboxed there’s a post called Central Casting by . I find the premise a little alarming.

Quoting Gore Vidal: [E]very writer has a given theater in his head, a repertory company. Shakespeare has fifty characters, I have ten, Tennessee has five, Hemingway has one, Beckett is busy trying to have none. You are stuck with your repertory company and you can only put on plays with them.

Alright, I actually find it rather horrifying. I’ve never liked writers leaning on the same archetypes again and again. The idea that I could fall into the same trap is very distressing.

The world is not made of these archetypes, and even if it were there are so very many of them that using only a handful is staggeringly short-sighted. I try very hard to make my primary and secondary characters into their own personages, as unique and layered as real people. I don’t want to just ring up central casting.

How limiting. shudder

So here’s a question, gentle reader. Do you find this sort of thing bothersome? Does it pain you to pick up a book and realize it’s the same characters from the last, completely unrelated book? Or am I tying myself in knots for no reason?


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