Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Characterization

Captain's Log, Stardate 09.28.2005

Well, I finished the novella this weekend. Yay! Now to hack and slash at least 10K from that puppy. Yes, you read right. Luckily I have a very sharp Chinese cleaver. I might even chop out the mystery element if I have to, although I don't want to--it's my hero's main motivation for throwing him with the heroine.

I am also finally turning to my Hawaii Chick Lit/Suspense manuscript. I also just received notice that Hawaiian Airlines has cheap fares right after Christmas. Hmm, heavenly sign? LOL

Now is the funnest part of a novel, for me (Well, it falls close to the other fun part, when I'm writing those zinger dialogue scenes that just rush out of my typing fingers). Now I get to grab this heroine and peel back her character like onion layers, only less painful to my tear ducts. What's her story? What's her hangup? Who'd she like to kiss and who'd she like to kill?

Brandilyn Collins's book "Getting Into Character" is invaluable to me for this part. Her methods don't work for every writer, but for me they work GREAT. I can get totally under my heroine's skin, although not as gruesome as Silence of the Lambs.

My first priority--what's the character's external goal? I'm not talking anything vague like "be a movie star," I'm digging deeper. I try to define her desire, like defining "stardom": Making a certain amount on a movie? Working with a particular director? Being on a certain TV show? Something where it's obvious she's obtained her goal.

I also try to put a ticking clock in there for good measure, because stardom could take years and I don't want my book to be an epic saga. For example, aspiring starlet only has enough money to stay in New York for nine months, or else she has to return to her trailer-park home and marry Bob the used baby clothes re-seller.

Of course, that also means she needs an internal reason why she wants it so badly, beyond the desire for money and fame, deeper than her poor deprived background. A really good motivation for a character requires very intense digging.

Maybe heroine wants to prove herself to her richer cousins who always looked down on her. That's nice, but why does she care what they think?

Internal motivations usually come back to some belief the character has about herself. This is always the hardest part for me about a character, but I've found that when I can push through and get it, the character is rich and consistent.

Diet: Well, I haven't been exercising (a torn ACL will do that to ya) but Nothing To Eat In The House = low caloric intake. I have to exercise, though. I'll try to go walking tomorrow.

2 comments :

  1. Hey hun, I think you REALLY need an assistant for that trip to Hawaii! *VBG*

    Yay on finsihing the novella!!! Yay on finally getting to the other one! (Have I mentioned I'm a slug?)

    love ya

    ReplyDelete

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