Famous writers, writing… Iris Murdoch

Iris Murdoch in 1963

Iris Murdoch

[photo: Steve Brodie]

Creating a character is a fascinating process. I start with the exterior, a feature or expression, perhaps a habit or tic. Getting inside, working out what makes them tick, why they behave the way they do, is something I’ve got better at with practice. Murdoch said:
“People have obsessions and fears and passions which they don’t admit to. I think every character is interesting and has extremes. It’s the novelist privilege to see how odd everyone is.”
Absolutely. We are each a mystery to everyone except ourselves.

Read the first paragraphs of A Severed Head, The Sea The Sea, and The Philosopher’s Pupil.
Read here about the first edition of The Sea The Sea.

Iris Murdoch


‘A Severed Head’ by Iris Murdoch [UK: Vintage Classics] Buy now

See these other famous people, reading & writing:-
Jack Nicholson
George Orwell

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Famous writers, writing… #author Iris Murdoch via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-AY


  1. And sometimes we’re even a mystery to ourselves! Since I mainly write short stories, my characters don’t spend nearly as much time in my head as they would if they were part of a novel, but I still make an effort to understand why they act the way they do.

  2. For me, to develop a character, I like think of something that is out of the ordinary. For example, I watched a film last night called ” Secret Window” with Johnny Depp and that movie is awesome! If you haven’t please, go see it!