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James MacKinnon is an existentialist.


I have always believed that Mods by their attitude to life tend on the whole to be existentialist. I freely confess I am an existentialist, so unsurprisingly the characters in my writing echo my beliefs.

For any character in a novel to resonate with depth and be more than a cardboard cutout it is necessary they have a reason for living. Like Shakespeare's Hamlet they should face up to the reality of their own existence. It's the Hamlet factor. "To be or not to be, that is the question..." (Act 1, Scene 3). This shares the core idea of Existentialism: life is absurd, either accept it is or end it. Shakespeare put those words in Hamlet's mouth.."

"...Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And, by opposing, end them?

To die, to sleep—No more—and by a sleep to say we end

The heartache and the thousand natural shocks

That flesh is heir to"

(Bare boned: confront life or end it to solve all your problems. Your choice).

Shakespeare was not just interested in what human beings are, he was interested in how they interacted with each other and the choices they made. This was the Bard's vital attribute, making his characters wholly believable. This has to be key and central in the creation of any fictional character. It's what I strive to achieve in my writing. A character in a story must be true to life in the fictional universe they inhabit. Fail in that and fail in your writing.

James "Mack" MacKinnon is the central mover in my novel. Although he's not yet aware of the word 'existentialism' he becomes aware that he is responsible for everything he does and that each action will shape who he may become as well as how it will affect those around him. He can never escape his Roman Catholic upbringing but he can and does reject it to begin finding his own meaning and purpose in life. That's existentialism.


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EMAIL: johnknightnovelist@gmail.com

FACEBOOK: John Knight @ Jimmy Mack 

TWITTER:  @JKnight_Author

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