Sunday, July 25, 2010

IDEAS--Finding my inner "character"

The July heat subsides a bit in the evening, and Friday night, I had the perfect opportunity to "walk" in one of my character's shoes. The sky was clear, the stars were bright, and the sounds of humanity were at a bare minimum. The road in front of me was barren (it was incredibly late...or early, depending on your view) so I took off on a short walk.

One of my character's lives in a story that takes place during the dead of winter in the 1920s, but despite this difference between his world and mine, I could easily imagine what this same place/time/scene would be like through his eyes. I embraced the solitude. First, I thought it through. "What would be different through his eyes?" "What around me would have to change?" In a way, it was similar to the visual effect from the Matrix movies, when the world human's "think" they live in shifts away, to the world that actually surrounds them, but in reverse. I was trying to visually create the world around me/my character.

After I had changed things in my mind, I started to take on my character's slouch, his mannerisms, some of the ticks that make him unique. What would he be doing out on a night like this? What would he be thinking? Would he be alone? Then, I talked it out. (Being alone is the perfect time for that.) Would he talk aloud to himself?

Although I don't see the results of this particular improvisation of my character as a specific "scene" of my story, I feel that it helped me answer a few questions that I had about him. It helped me understand his view better. Even though I have created him, I do, to some extent, feel that he exists somewhere outside of “me”.

Some authors/writers suggest writing or keeping a diary from the perspective of your character—using your character's "voice". This is a great idea, but for this one moment I had to myself, the imaginary transformation was what was needed.

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