August 28th, 2009

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Friday Five: Seeking the voice of the character

Sometimes when I write, a character will come to me and tell me her story. It's effortless, the voice present in my mind as clear as my own. Other times it's harder to coax the character out. It can be a struggle to start hearing the voice. If this has happened to you, fear not! There are things you can do to breathe life into a character that is reluctant. (And if anyone has other methods they use, please comment, as I am collecting ideas on this for a workshop!) Here are some of the ways I have had success in bringing a character's voice into the realm where I can hear it.

1. Meditation. Light candles, incense, alter the atmosphere. Drop down into the well of the collective unconscious. Find the voice you seek. Bring it back with you.

2. Too California for you? Try this one: Character sketches. Interview the character. Ask them about things you think they care about. Just like regular people, characters like to talk about the things they love. Once you get them going, they might not want to stop.

3. This one was suggested by my editor at Viking: collage it. Cut out pictures from magazines that your character might like and make a collage of these items. It gives you a different perspective in looking at who they are.

4. Ask a character who does speak clearly in your mind to help you gain the trust of the new character. Maybe the new character will have a conversation with the other character. And your job is just to transcribe it. This is the technique I'm currently using and it is working really well.

5. Offer chocolate

Happy writing and have a great weekend. REMEMBER!! The contest winner will be announced Monday. If you haven't entered yet, get to it (at my other blog