June 22, 2009

On Character Intimacy

My book has been calling to me. MC is frozen in the third chapter, despairing and anticipating.

I'm stuck at a major intersection; don't know which way to go. The obvious seems cliche and taboo, but it's real.

I'm not accustomed to changing the face of things so dramatically they are unrecognizable to me. I know I have the power to feel the pulse of truth beneath the superficial, but the superficial so often seems integral and necessary.

It's like I must learn another language, in order to communicate in the country I'll be visiting. They recognize hand signals, may be accurate judges of character, but there is a point when disguise becomes fabrication, and then it sounds like a lie.

I've discovered fairly recently, creating characters is like forming new relationships in real life. It's like visiting in the flesh places I've never been before. I not only have to know who/what I'm creating, I have to feel them. It's the only way to tell the truth.

It's digging deep. It won't suffice to simply imagine and draw a picture. I have to feel the pain and the passion, feel the burn of high-noon, shiver in the rain.

The pseudo-vicarious experience takes time. Days. Weeks. Years even, as has been the case thus far.

And this may be why it's taking me so long to choose a direction. I can never get in enough thought-time to dig any deeper than, "Whatcha been up to?" Small talk.

Driving long stretches of highway is ideal. I may have an opportunity soon. Ten-to-thirteen-hour trips, one-way. Then another between seven and ten. I pray the AC in the van is fixed by then so I won't be distracted by sweat and nausea.

1 comment:

  1. Ailina,

    Try interviewing your characters like a reporter and have them tell you which way the story should go.

    Pick five or ten things from your story and just ask the main characters or even some of the secondary characters on how these items are resolved or how they feel about a certain subject in the story, etc.

    Dennis C.,
    Narval the Great