Saturday, February 20, 2010

Now it's Your Turn/Fiction and Theatre Part III

Now, it's your turn. A few of you have let me know how you make
your characters come alive, but let's have an interactive lesson.
How do you, reader, research your character so that
he or she is a real person, not merely a
character in a book--or on the stage?

Plug your answer in here: show us your genius,
your ability, or make up a bunch of hooey
and impress us anyway!!!

Leave a comment between now and Wednesday and have a chance
to win a signed copy of:
CARA PUTMAN'S book,
DEADLY EXPOSURE!
And without my telling you, I'll bet you can guess this
book includes reference to:
THEATRE! OF COURSE!
So drop by, tell a friend to drop by, and most importantly leave
a comment. I will ask Rob or Rachel to pick their favorite
suggestion (no names will be attached, so they can't cheat!)
And whoever they pick will receive a copy of Cara's book.
Who will win?
THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME!

15 comments:

  1. The old saying goes, "Write what you know." That's intimidating, because sometimes I feel I know so little! And yet that's not true... I know what it feels like to want things, to feel lost, to feel insecure, to be proud, to laugh, cry, love, hate, rejoice, worship, fear... I know things my characters would feel. So as I research the different aspects of their lives--the talents they have, the things they would encounter, the rules they must abide by (or break), the troubles they face--I can find ways to relate to them through the emotions they feel. And that, I believe, makes the characters come alive.
    For example, my WIP has a character who has Down Syndrome. I've never had that. No one in my family does. But I can relate to feeling as if people around me are judging me... or they think I can't accomplish things. So I pour those emotions into my writing of that character.
    One tool I've found that is really useful in connecting with character emotions is YouTube. I watch a lot of videos and observe people who are going through similar life events as my characters. What draws me to the people in the videos will work to draw my readers to the characters in my books!
    Cheers,
    Diana Sharples

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  2. Diana what a great idea. I would never have thought of Youtube, but you're right, there's a lot of grist to be had there. Thanks for chiming in!

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  3. I usually don't know my characters very well when I first start writing. I get to know them as I write. I spend a lot of time thinking about motivation. What would motivate a person to do what I need this person to do? That's how that character's backstory usually builds up for me.

    I also try to keep the story natural. What would someone's natural response to that be? I do this especially in dialogue and try to let if flow on its own. Sometimes it's interesting to see where it ends up, and sometimes I have to take a more roundabout way to have them say what I need them to say, but it almost always sounds better than me trying to force the characters to say something particular.

    Lynda Schab and I were intereviewed about this on Author Culture several months ago in an article called Plump Up Your Characters: http://authorculture.blogspot.com/2009/12/plump-up-your-characters.html It really made me think about how I create my characters and I think I learned just as much from answering the questions as the readers the article was intended for. LOL

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  4. Hmmm, I guess I don't do much to get to know them. I've tried doing the interview/fact sheets before but I'm lazy and they're left half-done. Whatever I write about in my characters is probably something I've observed in someone or felt myself. I'm not sure it makes them real or not, but I'm working on it. :-)

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  5. Points for being honest, Jess. A lot of us do that way. Then the personalities develope as they go. But Suzanne has some great ideas too. Makes me want to work at it harder.

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  6. I interview my characters. One of the best tips I ever got was from Brandilyn Collins' book Getting into Character. She says to not just ask them what they would do, but to ask "Why?" and then when they answer that questions ask it again and again, until you get to the heart of the matter--their ultimate truth about why they are the way they are. It may be totally different from what you originally imagined! And Brandilyn based a lot of principles in her book on the method acting she studied. I know you will love it!

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  7. Thanks Rose. that really fits with our last interviews. I appreciate you coming by. Sounds like a great book to add to the library, as I love Brandilynn's suspense!

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  8. Althogh, I'm as yet an unpublishes author "wanna be"--since my passion is historical, I try to spend time in small local museums. I think by absorbing stories of the era, it helps me add authentic details to make my characters more real. pgrau (dot) ggi at gmail (dot) com

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  9. I don't research my characters at all. I get an "idea" of who they are in where they fall within their family dynamics and since I write historical I try to determine if their family is titled. But this is about all I have and I pick a name. The characters reveal to me who they are as I write. Whether it is little quirks, or they have a particular phrase they repeat. I am influenced by theater, however. I spend a lot of time at our community theaters costuming or doing makeup and I think that because I have to think about the role the person is playing and how they should look on stage, from age to the clothing to era the story takes place helps me develope the characters that appear in the pages of my books.

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  10. It truly is amazing how theatre helps us to "see" characters better. Funny, I used to costume for the high school from Oklahome to Les Mis, while pre-menopausal and not sleeping, I was able to sew tons of costumes. It is one of the most fun parts. When I did Oklahoma at our comm. theatre, it was the same. I couldn't keep my fingers out of other people's jobs and I just had to do some of the costumes. You're right, that plays a key role in who they will become.

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  11. so far, all my characters are pieces of people I know. With me infused in them. LOL I have yet to create anyone without thinking of someone who reminds me of them--a cross of two or three personalities.

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  12. I write historical romances so I use research from the setting plus historic newspapers on microfilm to find interesting characters. I also use Sol Stein's writing advice to pick three markers each for the hero and heroine: a speech marker, a costume marker, and a body language marker. Minor characters need only one marker each but I often end up with more.
    Donna Winters
    http://www.greatlakesromances.com

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  13. You are all so full of wonderful ideas. I have to admit, I'm getting more from this series than you all probably did. I am blessed.

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  14. I write YA, so most of my characters are teens. My mode of research was to give birth to two children 17 and 13 years ago, then live with them and allow their friends to hang out at the house. It's working pretty well, though I constantly run out of food.

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  15. Great way to research. I feel your pain. After my son moved out MANY year ago, my grocery bill cut in half. He and his buddies could really put away the food. Now he has two boys, God is good. He knows what I lived through.

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