Monday, March 22, 2010

Getting into Character

IN THE NEWS: Burglar logs into MySpace on store computer. Read more HERE.

Hi, everyone! It's so good to be back from my bloggin break!
But I have to say I did have a very productive writing week. Yee-haw.(More on that Wednesday)

It took me a while to find my groove, though. Kind of weird as to why. I mean, I had my story. I had my characters. I had their Goal-Motivation-and Conflicts all in place. But something was

I wasn't completely feeling my characters.

So I did what I did the last time this happened to me: I went picture hunting. :)

It took me a while but this is my new HERO, Tom.
Believe it or not, it wasn't easy finding a man with dark hair and blue eyes, who had the right look.

Then I went searching for my HEROINE. I usually gravitate toward redheaded heroines (don't ask me why) but lately they've all been blond.

This is my HEROINE, Celia.

I now have quite a few shots of both of them. I find having pictures of my characters and then placing them out before me as I write really helps me see them more as "real" people.

Once I had them, my writing clicked so much better and I was even able to tighten up their motivations.

As a result, I had THE BEST writing week!!

I know that some writers conduct character 'interviews" to get to know their characters better. In fact, my critique partner has a great list she's posted HERE. I've personally never tried that. I even wonder if it would work for me. Right now, I'm all about the visual aspect.

Anyhew, it's a whole new word goal this week and I'm ready to kick some writing butt now that I'm into my characters.

How do you get to know your characters better?
Have you ever used pictures or character interviews?

Oh, what the heck. Here's one more picture of Tom.

Just because. :)


sherrinda said...

Oooo-la-la! Tom is yummy! I love dark hair and blue is my favorite hero-look. :)

I did a 4 page character chart that I found online. Very indepth. It helped alot, but one thing I never did was pictures. Hhmmmm...I'm thinking I need to! :)

Christine Danek said...

Great pictures! That is some great motivation. I have not interviewed my characters. Pictures and music seem to help me.
I'm glad you had a productive week.
Thanks for the questions on my blog. I'll post the answers tomorrow.

Katie Ganshert said...

Congrats to you on finding your characters! I love finding a visual that totally represents what I'm envisioning. And double congrats on having a wonderful writing week!

What do I do to get to know my characters? I usually start talking to them, which occassionally freaks out my hubby.

Kimberly Franklin said...

That guy is dreamy! I love picture surfing... it really helps me to picture my characters when I'm writing.

Tess said...

Gorgeous! And, how very cool to have such a productive week. Hooray :)

Joanne said...

I find that research on a character's occupation, or personality trait, or hobby, often helps me to know them better. Welcome back and congrats on a great writing week!

Tess said...

Oh, I forgot to say: I have never used a pic for a character, but I think it's a good idea. my characters are quite often based on people (or a compilation of people) I have actually met; but don't tell them ;)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Tess: My first two books were like that, too. Then for some reason, my last book and this one I'm working on needed some visual help. :)

The English Writer said...

Wonderful post! I too am very visual when it comes to creating characters and I use a "storyboard" of hundreds of pics I've cut up to inspire when I write. It's great.
ps. Tom is v nice!!

Ann Elle Altman said...

I often find pics of my characters to picture them better in my mind.


Kristen Torres-Toro said...

WOOHOOO for a great writing week! I'm happy for you!

Kayeleen said...

I got the book over the weekend. Thanks! I'm so excited to read it.

I am still trying to figure out what works best for me. So far, I've tried interview and outline. One of my characters, I just got to know as I wrote. I have to go back and tighten up the draft now, because I know her better.

Laura Pauling said...

That Tom is a cutie! I've never hunted for pictures. I don't fill out charts but try and figure the basics before hand. Sometimes I try and write free hand in the pov of the character.

Susan R. Mills said...

I think I'm in love! I also like to find pictures of my characters. It's funny, though, I'm blogging about goal/motivation/conflict tomorrow, and how I struggled with that. I never thought about using the images of my characters to tighten that up. I typically use the pictures to help with my physical descriptions of them. This is a great idea. I'm going to give it a try. Thanks.

T. Anne said...

OK Tom is a cutie! I'm ready to read this one right away. ;) I'm glad you had a great writing week. It is so important to get to know our characters before we dive in to a 80K plus novel. Yay for success!

Elle Strauss said...

Wow, what a great idea. I've never gone searching for actual flesh and blood images for my characters. I might try that some day.

I agree, TOM is hot.

Jen said...

Love the characters!! Tom is a total hunk!!!

By the way thank you for signing up for my contest... tweeting about it is totally fine! I always forget that you can tweet about things! Go for it girl! I'll ad 3 points to your total!

patti said...

Wow! Can't wait to raed your story, Jennifer! Praise God for your productive week.
But...I really missed you!!!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Wow, what good looking characters you have, Jennifer. It really helps me to see my characters in picture form too. There's something about visuallizing them that is so helpful!

Happy writing, Jennifer.

Jaime said...

I think i'm in love with "Tom" - can I steal him for my book? LOL
just kidding!

Keri Mikulski said...

Love picture hunting!!

Enjoy! :)

Jemi Fraser said...

I don't use photos or interviews. I just let them walk around in my head for a few days before I start writing.

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

He is adorable. She's cute too. I love the visual and it helps me to motivate me to write as well. Happy writing!

Tiffany Neal said...

I too was up for half a night picture hunting rather than writing. It is so much fun! And I realize how stinking obssessed I am at making sure they are represented correctly. :)

Love the pictures!

Karen Lange said...

This is a good idea; I'll have to give it a try. Thanks!

Dawn Simon said...

I totally get my characters better after I select pics of them. The idea of the character helps me find the right picture, then the picture gives me more ideas. Last week I had to switch one of my secondary character's pictures because she suddenly felt wrong and was falling flat. It totally helped. :)

I'm glad you had such a great writing week!

Anonymous said...

Love the idea of having the pictures there in front of you. they probably talk to you too if you listen hard enough... :O)

Kristi said...

I've never tried this but I'm thinking I might have to! I can definitely see how visual photos can help with character development.

And speaking of hot boys, I left a goodie for you on my blog today. I feel like your post actually is an answer to the "book boyfriend" question actually...

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Wow, that's a really clever way of making a better connection with your characters!
I've tried the character interview and didn't really find it helpful. :?
But I do usually do a pretty extensive outline of my main characters backgrounds.
Hey, whatever it takes to get into the story!! :)

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

That's a really interesting way of getting to know your characters. I seriously have never thought of doing that before. Wow ... might have to give that a go some day :)

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