Monday, January 6, 2014

Into the Deep Freeze - Writing Living Characters

It's cold. Actually, that small four-letter word hardly describes how really miserable it is out there, but it's all we have. The temp right now is -22 F (-30 C) with a wind-chill reading of -48 F (-44.4 C). I'm wearing a turtleneck and a pullover sweater along with a cardigan and that's my indoor dress. *sigh* I'm trying to figure out whether I want to have my standard oatmeal and coffee for breakfast or treat myself to something more substantial - egg whites, chicken sausages and fresh fruit. Either way, I'll have to emerge from my cocoon in about an hour and creep into the cold darkness.

Some information for those of us always looking to learn new things...

In a way, that's rather similar to how a story can start. The author looks at the future (my breakfast choices) as an empty palette or blank screen which will be filled by plot, characters, events and dialog. Through the act of writing and composition, new world will be made. I love the act of writing, although I also find it one of the most frustrating arts I've attempted to master in my life. I've been practicing the art of writing throughout my lifetime, but there is always so much to learn.

Wouldn't this have been a fun thing to attend? The fact that it
took place in Tuscany is just one more wonderful reason to have attended. 

A good author can grab you right away. Within a few pages, or even just a few paragraphs, you should be hooked and the thought of putting the book down should be remote or impossible. When the plot grabs you and the characters put their teeth into you and won't let you go, that's a novel that's worth reading. That's a novel that I want to be writing.

Everyone writes differently and everyone's plots take different
twists and turns. Why are some characters flat and others deep
and multi-faceted? It's hard to discern until you read one of the
former and realize you would rather read the latter. 

I've been worrying about character voice and how to make my characters live, and I think that's something that every author fights with. I've worked through my college creative writing courses and struggled with this, and I'm currently listening to a recommended podcast where the issue is one of many that are addressed. But the key, after trying to learn this and that, is to be able to get the learning out of my head and into my characters.

I love these hands filled with words, descriptions, and ideas. 

So, as I try to bring my characters out of the deep freeze of shallow personalities and little aspiration, into the warmth of love, life and a happily ever after (when possible), I hope all of you bundle up if you're also in the freeze zone today. We'll all get through it - it's going to be a couple of days of total ick before the temps warm back to a normal winter. But until then, embrace the down! Goose feathers are your friend!

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