Friday, June 27, 2008

Taking Off

Remember that Colorado trip we had to miss in May? Well, we rebooked our tickets for next week and we’re trying again. So far, we’re all healthy and praying we stay that way. We’re looking forward to some time off with family, just hanging out and playing with our kiddos. We’ll probably take Jodi on her first trip to the zoo!

One of the things I love most about being a mom is experiencing life all over again through Jodi’s eyes and realizing that to her just about everything is new and wonderful and fun. Doug and I could go to the zoo and enjoy looking around, but we certainly wouldn’t say things like “Look at the stripes on that zebra! Does that lion look like a big kitty? Those monkeys are crazy, aren't they?” to each other. But we’ll say them over and over in high-pitched, silly voices to our daughter, just to glimpse the sheer wonder and excitement in her eyes.

As writers, you’re constantly trying to experience and portray life through the eyes of others. And your readers can tell if you “know” your characters well or not. How do you research your characters? What’s the best book about characterization you’ve read? What’s the most difficult character POV you’ve ever written? Post a comment and share with us.

Have a great weekend and upcoming week. I’ll be back to the blog on July 11th.


Vickie said...

Have fun on your trip! You're so right about experiencing things differently with children. We're doing that now with our two-year-old granddaughter.

My favorite book for developing characters is Heroes and Heroines, Sixteen Master Archetypes There are eight archetypes for heroines, such as The Nurturer, The Spunky Kid, and the Crusader. There are also eight for heroes, such as The Bad Boy, The Warrior, and the Lost Soul.

The book describes each archetype in detail, so I can easily tell which one my character is. The book also uses popular movie characters of each archetype as examples and shows how each hero archetype would respond to each heroine archetype. Once you know your character's archetype, you will know how he/she will respond to the events your throw at them.

Carrie Turansky said...

Hope you all have a wonderful time! The zoo sounds great, and experiencing it with Jodi will make it even more fun!

I like Getting Into Character by Brandilyn Collins. She uses the principles of acting to help us develop our characters.

Creating interesting characters is one of my favorite parts of writing.

Have a great time!

Myra Johnson said...

JoAnne, you are so right about the joy of experiencing adventures through the eyes of a child! We've been empty-nesters for several years, but now that we have 5 grandkids, we're enjoying our outings together in a whole new way.

As for developing characters, I've found tremendous help through Margie Lawson's classes on Empowering Character Emotions. My characters all come alive vividly in my head, but I've needed to learn how best to bring them to life on the page to deepen the emotional connection with the reader.

Janet Spaeth said...

This may sound weird (yeah, go figure on that, huh?) but each of my main characters is part of me. Rose Kelly, for example, has my blurt-it-out tendency. In other books and novellas, you'll see my love of cats, my usually well-hidden competitive streak, my search for serenity, etc.

Life supplies my supporting cast (g) and although I'd never use someone I know, I can glean their reactions.

And with my literature background, I think the archetypes that Vickie mentioned are ingrained in me so I don't use the books anymore...but the ideas are there.

Have fun on your trip!

Debby Mayne said...

Have a wonderful trip, JoAnne! Like you, I always enjoyed my children's reactions when they had new experiences and saw new places.

I do quite a bit of character planning before I ever write my books. I know their positive traits and their flaws--and then I "interview" all my most important characters. Sometimes scenes unfold new things about these people, so I have to adjust.

Mary Connealy said...

I seem to have to write for a while to get to the bottom of my characters. I usually start the book. I've got a story idea more than a character in mind. I'll paint the hero/heroine/villain with broad strokes and discover them as I write. I can feel that 'aha' moment when I finally have a great bead on the characters and I'll often go back to the beginning and redraw them, including a lot of other characters reaction to them once I know them well.

I've heard of 'interviewing' a character and I suppose in a kind of slow way, that's what this amounts to. But for me, knowing my characters seems to happen more fully in the midst of the story.