Put yourself in your character’s place

Become them.

Yes, you all, I am back from my incessant questioning to bring you some real content. Not that the Inquiry Entries wasn’t real blog content or anything… but, I’d like to get more at answering the questions rather than asking them this week.

So, here’s the part where you get to ask the questions! Like… “put yourself in your character’s place? Kari… what (the –)?”

Okay, okay, so this is just something I like to do when I’m writing. And maybe it could prove useful to you, too, or something.

So, here’s the gist.

You’re writing a grand new novel about the century-long battle between vampires and werewolves.

Wait, that’s been done before…

Okay, you’re writing a grand new novel about the century-long battle between vampires and extraterrestrial beings. (Whether or not that’s been done before… I mean, it probably has, but everything in the writer wheel is just reinvented material anyway, right?) And you’re staring at the blank page, thinking, “Um. I don’t know how a vampire would talk to an alien.”

Well, duh! No one knows how a vampire would talk to an alien. That’s why you have to imagine how a vampire would talk to an alien.

This is where my methodology comes in. If you put yourself in that vampire character’s place… then you can imagine how the vampire and extraterrestrial being’s conversation would take place.

And I emphasize imagine because it’s an important piece to this non-physical jigsaw puzzle.

When you become that character, it really helps to imagine, in your mind’s eyes, what it is like to actually be “in the character’s shoes”, so to speak. I have to say that because not all characters are wearing shoes, or even fully clothed, so take it as you will.

Now, when you become your character, try to transform into him or her or them all in your head. The word image is close to imagine, right? (Yes.) So, picture an image of you, as your character, in your character’s situation. What are you, the character, wearing (if anything…)? What do you see in your surroundings? How do you feel when you look at that nasty, lanky, no-good, corn-huskin’ gray alien face staring right at you, threatening to throw another crop circle in your neighbor’s farmin’ field again?

I would punch that — right square upside the nose. If it had one.

Now, of course, I just miss being funny on my blog, and so I picked the most ridiculous scene possible that I could come up with at 2 am on a Tuesday night (my new peak work hour, apparently, by the way)… but, this method works wonders even with the most dead-serious situations in your books as well. Literally, I imagined myself as my main character of my first novel when she shot her first crooked criminal dead. It worked.

So, give this a try next time you’re stuck in your writing process! Remember, imagine yourself as your characters. Become them.

And then let me know how it goes!

-iKari

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