Friday, January 21, 2011

What I write.

I have to call most of what I write paranormal.  There are historical elements, romance is there but rarely heading where the typical happy ending is supposed to go, and I love to shake up tired old basics by exploring the mundane as viewed from a Mothman perspective.  (It is said that mothmen can predict disaster because they are standing on a higher level of perception)  Legends can be woven together in fact until the borders are open for a new tale.  That is what I write. 

Characters in my view should be complete people.  That sounds like common advice, but it isn't commonly followed.  When you see the beings you bring to life, the color of hair, eyes and sex are not characters.  Each character should have an FBI file.  Frame, Breath and Id.

Frame: as you see your new friend for the first time, what do you notice.  Hair, eyes, fingernails, scent, dialects or speech idioms, clothing choice, what are they eating, what would they watch on TV or read, list two flaws - such as crooked teeth, a narrow chin or stooped shoulders.  The frame is just the basics of the characters description.  This is where many characters sort of end and even if you never use all your knowledge, you should have at least 50 frames for any character that does more than walk in.

Breath :  This is where you actually begin to build.  What is the worst thing they ever did to someone?  What is the worst thing that ever happened to them? If they picked up a hitch-hiker why would they do it? biggest fear, greatest loss, what sort of event would break the mind of your character?  Who do they hate?  What did they look like when they were 5, 8, 12, now?  Which of the seven deadly sins do they own?  If they were killed this moment what would they expect to see on the other side? Where do they scratch when nobody is looking?  Did they wash their hands after?  Who do they want to meet?  Who gave them a first kiss, first black eye, first betrayal?  If they could spend one hour with a lost loved one, what would they say and who would it be?  How will they die?  If they could execute one person in the world with no consequences, who would they pick ? Name mom and dad, an uncle or some relative?  Most embarrassing moment ever?  Who would they take camping and leave in the woods?      
    You should know the answers about every main character and 100 other tidbits.
 Do not list them in the first chapter, but know them.  Some will weave in, most will simply be things that allow you to see them react clearly, never spelled out, but somehow there.  Many will never see a word of type, but they are there in real people.  People are not born 27 year old perfect or 15 year old sarcastic....every human is a sum of all belief and experience they have attained at the moment the story begins.  If you don't know where they are, your characters will go no place and cookie cutter into flat little peanut butter with "how are you today" dialogue.

Id :  Now your in their head.  List favorite everything from food to music to childhood toy.   Motivators such as hope, lust, revenge, power, peace, love and disgust.  About 20 motivators and 2-5 major Motivators should give you a basic understanding of who your writing about. 

After you know them, then yo can begin messing with them and challenging them...You are now God or something darker.....only now is it time to begin actually writing,

Having a nice day is not the beginning.  I am born, has been done.  Don't dream, wake, brush your teeth or look in mirrors unless you are about to discover a flesh eating virus ate your face off in the night.

I write stuff about people I can see clearly.  That is why I don't need to plot.  Life is not plotted. There are a million reasons to plot and yes I often have a very good idea where we are headed....I know the big bang at the end and can see the hopeful feel good.  I avert dead middles by having a big bang there too...or in the case of Ignite, several that don't wrap up completely until the end.  And hide a big bang for Two in what seems all happy in book one.  That is what makes a whole crapstorm of work worth doing. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tips. I love trying to understand the characters in stories I write. Some of them I know better than myself and others are kind of a mystery. I may try and use this technique in the future. :)