Friday, August 24, 2012

What Would You Do?

A book is a work of fiction. You can make the unimaginable happen and you can let your characters do the unthinkable.

If you are writing a fantasy or supernatural story, by all means let your imagination run wild, but you need to at least keep one foot grounded in reality. As I have mentioned before, you want your characters to be as realistic as possible even if they are mythical. They need to talk as you talk, feel what you feel, and do things that you would do.

Asking yourself, “What would I do?” will help you to stay authentic in your writing instead of trying to figure out what someone else would do or say; it’ll also help your readers to believe the story you are telling.

When your main character is in a confrontation consider what you would do if you were them. How would you react? What would you say?

What would I do? Now that is a tricky question!
Photo by Chrys Fey

If your main character goes through something traumatic try to imagine going through the same thing. How would you feel? How would you cope?

Don’t just do this for your main character though; use this technique for all of your characters. An actor has to embody the character they are playing –especially a character that is dark and twisted. All writers should do the same thing. I do.

For my second book, when my main character is stuck in a psychiatric ward, I put my mind into that situation to understand how she would feel, and when she was having a mental break down, I pretended that I was too. At one point, I wrapped my arms around my body, rocked back and forth in a chair, and ticked my feet as if I wanted to run. From my mouth, I was repeating, “I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know!” In one scene, my character is doing exactly that.

QUESTION: So what would you do if you were in your characters shoes?

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