Thursday, July 5, 2012

Write a Letter to Your Character

When the juices aren't flowing, try something different. One piece of advice I heard is get your character drunk and ask him/her all the questions you have. Sounds like fun, if you can tie your brain up in those kind of knots.

A simpler tactic is write a letter to your character. I like to provide advice, warn, and ask questions. I do this in my own voice. Sometimes, as I articulate these things outside of the context of the story, I get a flash of recognition. The character would not listen to my advice. My warning would only make things worse. The answer to the question would be unexpected.
Or write a letter about your character. Here, I write to someone I know as if the character is a mutual friend. "You won't believe what a mess he's gotten himself into this time." I work hard to write in a way that would keep my friend interested and engaged, and that usually reveals what might keep readers interested and engaged. This is actually the easiest tactic to use, and it takes on the most life if I make a good choice on who to address the letter to.

Or write a letter from your character. This is the trickiest. It involves getting into your character's head in a different way and writing in the character's voice. It doesn't always work for me. The best results I've had are when the character has gone silent. (My characters talk to me all through the writing - do yours?) Sometimes, I find out why I'm being given the cold shoulder. Sometimes, the character forgives me and gets back to work.

Dear Peter

No comments:

Post a Comment