Author Topic: Getting inside a character's mind  (Read 14462 times)

Nadine L

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #45 on: February 05, 2007, 06:21:51 PM »
That,

Are you going to tell us what your idea is?

(yes, I did mean you in my previous post.)


Smiley,

I have to get a post made regarding the video. My amazon rank ("fake" numbers, but people watch them) really dropped right (which is good) after putting the video on my website. Must be selling books. No time at the moment, but it is info that might be worth sharing with other writers.

Nadine

Offline thatollie

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #46 on: February 06, 2007, 06:18:23 AM »
Sorry for keeping you in the dark, my idea is about character details that don't affect the story. What originally set me off on this path was the post about secret wishes. Does something you know that doesn't affecct the story, affect you as a writer and subtly show itself on the page? What do you think?
Never make a decision standing up.

crystalwizard

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #47 on: February 06, 2007, 10:20:27 AM »
the post about secret wishes. Does something you know that doesn't affecct the story, affect you as a writer and subtly show itself on the page? What do you think?

Depends on the writer I think. Everything I know about my characters affects the story they are in, in some way. But that's on purpose.

Offline thatollie

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #48 on: February 06, 2007, 08:12:18 PM »
Well knowing it would have to be on purpose, and that's what I'm talking about. I need more time to test this. Back soon.
Never make a decision standing up.

Offline jojohnson

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #49 on: February 06, 2007, 09:02:54 PM »
I like cryatalwizards idea of a list, but I would add to this that some characters can be based on people you've known in the past. Think of someone then ask them the questions in the list. You'll probably find you can add more questions too!

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #50 on: February 07, 2007, 06:10:17 AM »
I like cryatalwizards idea of a list, but I would add to this that some characters can be based on people you've known in the past. Think of someone then ask them the questions in the list. You'll probably find you can add more questions too!


The only danger with basing a character on a real person that you know well is that sometimes your knowledge of that real person will intrude into your mind and you will find yourself thinking Joe/whoever wouldn't do that.  This is usually at a pretty subconscious level and it may take a while to realise why your character won't cooperate with your plans.

Most of my characters are composites.  Their physical appearance often comes from a complete stranger seen in the street, so there are no 'conditions' attached.   Their behavior often comes from at least two other people, thus creating internal conflicts and the kind of dual personality which saves them from being a stereotype cut-out.

But I have no qualms about claiming 'These characters bear no resemblance to anybody living or dead', because, by the time they start dancing to my tune they have become a person in their own right.

Gyppo
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

crystalwizard

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #51 on: February 07, 2007, 01:04:36 PM »
The only danger with basing a character on a real person that you know well is that sometimes your knowledge of that real person will intrude into your mind and you will find yourself thinking Joe/whoever wouldn't do that.  This is usually at a pretty subconscious level and it may take a while to realise why your character won't cooperate with your plans.

But you want to think 'joe/whoever' wouldn't do that and then not have your character do that. That's the whole reason for basing the character on someone instead of making up a personality for that. That's what keeps the character 'in character'.

It's a whole lot better to only rough out the plot rather than plan it out in meticulous details. Then your characters don't argue with you, get upset and go do something else while you try to force them into a mold that doesn't fit their personalities.


Offline Gyppo

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #52 on: February 07, 2007, 01:28:23 PM »
Crystal,

I take your point - as the perforated swordsman said to his opponent - and this just goes to show that there are many ways of approaching the same objective.  I suspect that most of us eventually find a method which suits us.

What I clearly failed to get across was that in some cases - particularly with more inexperienced writers - the personality traits of the real Joe/Whoever will dominate the character you are trying to create and you will end up writing about the real Joe, not the character.

I once had two friend accuse me of  'using them' in a book.  They were both correct, but in each case the character they identified with themselves was based on the other person ;-)  Both of them were happy with what they considerd to be my 'understanding' of their personality and likely behaviour.  In one case this was a rather disturbing insight into the darker corners of his psyche;-)

Gyppo 
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

crystalwizard

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #53 on: February 07, 2007, 02:42:18 PM »
What I clearly failed to get across was that in some cases - particularly with more inexperienced writers - the personality traits of the real Joe/Whoever will dominate the character you are trying to create and you will end up writing about the real Joe, not the character.

you got that across, but that was my point. That's the entire reason for basing a character on someone. If you base the character on someone, it's assumed you want the character to act like that someone. That being the case, you'd better be thinking 'joe wouldn't do that' if you try to make the character do something Joe wouldn't. Why else would you base the character on Joe if you didn't want to use Joe as a template for that character's personality and actions?

Quote
I once had two friend accuse me of  'using them' in a book.  They were both correct, but in each case the character they identified with themselves was based on the other person ;-)  Both of them were happy with what they considerd to be my 'understanding' of their personality and likely behaviour.  In one case this was a rather disturbing insight into the darker corners of his psyche;-)

Gyppo 

ROFL!!! that's funny.

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #54 on: February 07, 2007, 03:12:07 PM »
Why else would you base the character on Joe if you didn't want to use Joe as a template for that character's personality and actions?


Because 'Joe' is often just the physical vehicle for my character.

A 'skin' for dancing in ;-)

Gyppo
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

crystalwizard

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #55 on: February 07, 2007, 05:57:30 PM »
Because 'Joe' is often just the physical vehicle for my character.

A 'skin' for dancing in ;-)

Gyppo

Then you're not basing the character off Joe, you're just making it look like Joe.

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #56 on: February 07, 2007, 07:24:06 PM »
Then you're not basing the character off Joe, you're just making it look like Joe.

I think we've reached common ground, we're just describing it in different terms.  I'm willing to drop the subject now before we bore everyone else rigid ;-)

Gyppo
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

crystalwizard

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #57 on: February 07, 2007, 08:10:07 PM »
I think we've reached common ground, we're just describing it in different terms.  I'm willing to drop the subject now before we bore everyone else rigid ;-)

Gyppo

Shucky darn. The idea of a raft of rigid writers writing rigidly while rapidly running rampant appeals ;)

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #58 on: February 07, 2007, 08:21:10 PM »
Shucky darn. The idea of a raft of rigid writers writing rigidly while rapidly running rampant appeals ;)

Nice one ;-)

Gyppo
My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Offline Smiley

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Re: Getting inside a character's mind
« Reply #59 on: February 08, 2007, 03:29:41 PM »
Hi Guys

In case anyone is interested I've found another useful way of getting into the character's mind: Once you have an idea of who your character is have him or her write a letter, it can be to anyone - Mother/Lover/Ex-partner/A child given away at birth etc... It may be on any topic but it must be based on a strong emotion, positive or negative (joy, relief, love, rage, scorn, vengefulness)

It really makes you think as the character would  ;)

Thanks to everyone who has replied to this post, all of your comments have been very helpful.

Smiley x  :)

p.s. this tip was taken from the creative writing workbook from the open university ( i hope posting it here dosn't count as plagarism :-[)
Smiles make the world a happier place, share yours with a stranger it could make their day.