Author Topic: Getting inside a character's mind  (Read 17383 times)

Offline Jezzica85

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2007, 06:07:34 PM »
In my experience, it's definitely the small things a character does that gives you the biggest glimpse into a character's mind. For example, one of the characters in my novel has a habit of chewing on pencil erasers while she's working because it gives her ideas. What I don't actually say and what's implied by it is how much pressure she puts on herself to succeed, and this is her outward show of that feeling.

Hope that helps,
Jezzica85
I always thought a fictional character was just that--completely your imagination. Now, I know better. Think about this--your most treasured characters, whether you realize it or not, are everything you dream for yourself. That's the real beauty of writing.

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2007, 06:48:37 PM »
Jezzica, I could kick myself. I've just said the same thing to you on your POV thread.

Offline Chanee

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #32 on: February 04, 2007, 12:47:30 AM »
before i started writing the novel i'm working on now, i filled out a survey of questions from my main characters POV.  as in, i pretended i was her while answering the questions.  while i was filling it in, i surprised myself with the answers i came up with because until i wrote it down, i wasn't aware i was thinking it.  so it helped me...

it was actually a pretty good survey.   it was the kind of survey with the beginnings of sentences that you fill in.  for eg, one question could be:  'i think my father...' or 'i get angry when.....'

someone emailed it to me once and i printed it out because i liked it.  i don't have the survey on hand but if i'm sure theres heaps of them on the net if you're interested.

chanee

Nadine L

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2007, 02:59:16 AM »
I get into character much like an actor does.  I find once I'm in character, I think, talk, behave as that person (but on paper) and it goes very well to write the entire scene while in that mental state. You might check out a few basic acting books at the bookstore or library and look at their exercises for getting into character.

This is going to sound off topic, but I really like this book, The complete book of Scriptwriting by J. Michael Straczynski. ISBN: 1-58297-158-7 (sorry, I don't know the 13 digit ISBN). The thing about reading this book (or something like it) is that it covers staging, lighting, camera angles...all of which, when considered, help me visualize what I'm writing so I can write better.

Just another tool in your writer's tool box...

Good luck! (Um, break a leg?)

Nadine

Offline Smiley

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #34 on: February 04, 2007, 03:33:18 PM »
Hi Nadine,

Thanks for the advice, I think that this is where I am going wrong - I filled in the questionaire sheets and tried to give the charactes their own personalities but I wasn't actually BEING that character as I wrote them. Gyppo gave similar advice to yourself and I put myself in the character's shoes and it really does make a difference.

I wouldn't have thought about acting books but that really makes sense. On your recommendation I have ordered The complete book of Scriptwriting from Amazon.com (it's coming from the United States, I couldn't get it on Amazon.co.uk so I may have to wait a while).

I have a character in mind at the moment who is a bit (well, actually a lot) of a siren so it should be fun acting her out ;)

Thanks again for your advice

Smiley x  :)

p.s. I really like the slideshow that you have done to advertise your books
Smiles make the world a happier place, share yours with a stranger it could make their day.

Nadine L

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #35 on: February 04, 2007, 08:24:29 PM »
Smiley,

I found it on amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Complete-Book-Scriptwriting-J-Michael-Straczynski/dp/1852868821/sr=8-4/qid=1170636399/ref=sr_1_4/202-0992917-4527062?ie=UTF8&s=books

Wonder if you can cancel your US order? Just a thought.

I really liked the section where he described the camera angles. I won't do it justice, but he said something like 2 people meeting for lunch; show (briefly) the room of people; then he goes into how they film the meeting and the conversation.

It stuck with me was how often do we write only our characters and forget the background people or noises. Same with lighting...sets the mood to imagine it in your mind as you write.

I thought it was good for scriptwriting info, but found it really helped me with fiction as well. (If you hate the book, I'll owe you one of mine.)

Thanks for the comment on the video. It was my first effort. There is an edited (better) version on YouTube now.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu6f_4ab0uk  It was a lot of fun and my mind is a whirl with the marketing and branding implications of this. I have the details in my March newsletter (coming out in, um...March).

I guess my best advice is to have fun with writing. Your readers will notice. If you have a character who wears a wacky hat; wear a wacky hat when you write that person, if you need to/want to or like Jezzica's character = chew on a pencil...

Good luck! Let us know how your class goes.

Nadine
« Last Edit: February 04, 2007, 08:39:18 PM by Nadine L »

Offline thatollie

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #36 on: February 05, 2007, 12:00:25 AM »
Quote
The complete book of Scriptwriting by J. Michael Straczynski.
I also have this book, it does cover things that aren't in the normal novel writing books because it's about screenplays. It just proves that by working in every medium you can work in, you'll learn things that will work in you're chosen section.
Never make a decision standing up.

Nadine L

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #37 on: February 05, 2007, 12:22:32 AM »
That,

Good point. Well stated.

Nadine

Offline thatollie

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #38 on: February 05, 2007, 12:29:50 AM »
Thank you, I assume that was for me. Since I'm the only person who posted since your last post.
Never make a decision standing up.

Offline orchid15

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #39 on: February 05, 2007, 01:01:15 AM »
I like to look at personality types when I pick a main character.  In one book, My main character was very perfectionist and 17 years old. it was easy to create conflict bcause most people are put off by perfectionism, especially when added to the teen angst of 'why doesn't anyone like me?' and'but I'm right."  As I write, I ask questions like "why is she a perfectionist?, and let the clues dribble out.  "How do her parents feel and react to her perfectionism?" gave me more.  Whose jealous, whose lying are two other areas to explore.

In another book my main character is a typical brilliant scientist, but shy.  So the question becomse, why is he shy, what is he hiding?  And why is the other man following him around and trying to be his friend?  Again, don't tell the answers too soon,make your readers long for the next revelation.

orchid
"The beautiful part of writing is that you don't havto get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon." Robert Cormier
 

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Offline thatollie

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #40 on: February 05, 2007, 05:44:49 AM »
Revelation is all about patience and balance, if you give too much away before the big payoff, your readers will already have it figured. On the other side, if you don't reveal enough, the reader will feel cheated. It's a hard task and something I'm always trying to improve.
Never make a decision standing up.

Offline Smiley

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #41 on: February 05, 2007, 05:54:24 AM »
Nadine,

I don't know how I managed to miss all of those copies on Amazon.co.uk - I must have been having a dizzy moment :-[

I looked at your second video, it's a great way to promote your books. I got music this time too - brilliant!


Ollie,

Yes, I agree with your comment regarding  working in all mediums - normally I wouldn't have bought a scriptwriting book but thinking about what Nadine said, using a scriptwriter's tools cannot fail to enrich fiction writing too.
Quote
Revelation is all about patience and balance, if you give too much away before the big payoff, your readers will already have it figured. On the other side, if you don't reveal enough, the reader will feel cheated. It's a hard task and something I'm always trying to improve.

that is definately something to bear in mind



Orchid,

Thank you for your advice too, I like the idea of asking a question and then letting the clues dribble out - good way to keep the reader hooked.


You have all been so helpful giving your advice, I really appreciate it ;D ( I should get my results this week so I'll let you all know if the advice paid off ;))


Smiley x  :)


Smiles make the world a happier place, share yours with a stranger it could make their day.

Offline thatollie

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #42 on: February 05, 2007, 05:56:34 AM »
Whatever usefulness you have gleaned from my posts is a gift and one I'm glad to give.
Never make a decision standing up.

Offline Tiggywinkle

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #43 on: February 05, 2007, 10:56:14 AM »
I think crystalwizard's list of questions is excellent, particularly the one about secret (or not so secret) wishes.  If a character knows what he or she wants they will hopefully be able to set about planning and trying to achieve it.  Whether they succeed or fail, they should have developed in some way as a result of the trying. 

Offline thatollie

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #44 on: February 05, 2007, 04:15:09 PM »
This gives me a semi-idea, I'm going to have to try it but I'm hopeful.
Never make a decision standing up.