Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Getting to Know Your Characters

“If you're having trouble getting into your characters, take a subject and have characters write letters - to you (the writer) and to other characters.” -- Chick Lit Gurrl in Dear John: Revealing Character in Epistolary Writing.
Here's a variation on yesterday's post. I like the idea of writing a letter to get into a character's head. I use this format in one of my stories.

I had each of the characters in my current story write a short essay about pain yesterday. It was hard to switch from one to the next and write something fresh, but worth the effort. Once this was done, I wrote the first part of the story, about 800 words.

I understand why I'm struggling with this piece. It needs to be much longer than my original plan. The story line can easily fill a novel-length work. That's more than I want to tackle right now, but I can't get the story out of my head. I'll just have to keep writing it and see where the characters lead me.

3 comments:

Loren Christie said...

Jim,
What a great idea!

Kimberly Zook said...

Thank you for the interesting approach! In my young-adult manuscript I had the main character write and her father write letters to each other, because it was the only way they could communicate. It really made me think about each character, but also the different levels of communication humans interact on. Thanks to Loren Christie for introducing me to your blog! I love it and it's now on my blogroll.

Jim Harrington said...

Welcome, Kimberly. I'm glad you like this effort. Please feel free to add comments anytime.