Wednesday, July 28, 2010


When I write, it is critical that I feel a powerful connection to (even a sense of becoming) my main character.  Yesterday, as I was finishing up a reading & activiting guide for the last book in a super-fun middle-grade sci-fi (and kind of fantasy--okay, there are zombies involved) series, I realized the same is true when I write ABOUT a book.

To produce a strong guide, it's essential to connect with the main character and also think about how the book's reader's are going to do so.  For example, in the story mentioned above, the mc has to make a very difficult choice. So, I ask myself, how do I feel about the character's decision?  If I were a kid, watching this plot unfold as a movie, would I be cheering, crying, gripping the arms of my seat?  If I were standing beside the main character, what would I do?  Really trying to get under the skin of the situation (this, by the way, would be hilarious if you knew the plot of the novel) is a great way to discover how to encourage readers to engage in the story.

When I write my own fiction, the connection process begins very physically, almost like an acting exercise. When I wrote AUDITION, I always spent about 10 minutes dancing before sitting down at the computer. My new protagonist plays a sport and so, before hitting the keyboard, I head for the backyard and smack a ball around. Then, I rush to the keyboard, hands burning, and type as fast as I possibly can before the sweat dries!

How do you connect to your characters?  Music, action, free writing?  Does reading or writing about other novels teach you anything about your own writing-connection process?


storyqueen said...

I just make myself park my butt in the chair...otherwise I will stall until I have no time left in which to write.

Sometimes I stall when I am writing....which is another thing altogether.


Theresa Milstein said...

What a great way to get into your character's head by engaging in a physical activity the MC does.

I think it's good to think about the readers. The book is for them, right? I should ask myself about how they'll feel about the protagonist's choices in my current WIP more.

Stasia said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Shelley and Theresa. Wishing you a good writing day!- Stasya