Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Five Writing Tips for Getting Into Character



If you watch the news, you’ve probably seen stories recently about Georgia’s film industry. Movie and television studios abound in the Peach State. Four studios are located within ten miles of my house. 

Riverwood Studio, in Senoia, GA, was the first film studio in my area.
I toured the studio in 2009.
 “The Walking Dead” is filmed in Senoia, a small town seven miles south of me. Buses haul in tourists from Atlanta every weekend to visit the various film lots, sip lattes at the Woodbury Shoppe featured in the series, and scour the streets hoping to spot a zombie or two.

The TV show, “Drop Dead Divas,” was filmed there as well as numerous movies, including “Footloose,” “Pet Sematary II,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” and “Stand Your Ground.”

Pinewood Atlanta Studio owns 700-acres of land
in my area of Georgia.
Pinewood Atlanta Studios is less than five miles away. Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy, son of Chick-fil-A founder Truitt Cathy, helped attract the British-based studio to Fayette County where I live. Pinewood has 18 sound studios located on their sprawling 700-acre campus.  “Avengers: Endgame,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Black Panther,” “Captain America: Civil War” and “Ant-Man” are some of their credits.
 
I pulled into Pinewood Studio's entrance drive and
was stopped by security. No photos allowed beyond
the road...so I went across the street and snapped
this shot.
In addition to the studio, Pinewood Forest is being built nearby. The quaint village features innovated upscale homes, shops and eateries and is touted as a mecca for actors, artists, and writers.

The new Pinewood Forest Village across from the studio is attracting
actors, artists and writers. 
A scene from one of the Pinewood Studios Marvel movies was shot on the lake behind my house. Some years ago in a blog post, I shared my adventures when I crawled through the underbrush to spy on the filming and got too close to the action. One of the directors eventually called out to me. “Lady, we can see you. Please move away from the water.”
 
The docks on the lake behind my house. The film crew is
getting ready to shoot their water scene.
Georgia is known as the Hollywood of the South so when I brainstormed ideas for this post, I thought about actors and how they get into character. Google provided interesting information about stars who travel to exotic destinations to better understand their character’s backstory. Some actors live blindfolded for a period of time to better portray those who are vision impaired. One actor was present during a heart transplant to prepare for his role as a TV cardiologist. Another actor traveled to Rwanda to learn more about gorillas before he played King Kong.
 
Five large stadium lights were placed around the
lake for the middle-of-the-night filming. The first
set of lights is on in this photo.
The lights were so bright they turned
the night into day.
Actors need to get into character, and writers need to as well. I currently write Amish suspense and am amazed how easily I can mentally enter into that Amish way of life. As I write my stories, I slip into plain mode. I see myself in the Amish farmhouse, preparing meals on the wood burning cook stove and pumping water at the well. Each morning, I vicariously rise before dawn, pin my calf-length dress, settle my starched kapp over my bun, and hurry downstairs to start coffee perking in an aluminum drip pot. When I go to town, I ride in a buggy and wave to other Amish folks as they pass by in their rigs, all the while enjoying the fresh country air and the rhythmic clip-clop of the horse’s hooves on the pavement. 
Some of Pinewood Studios' 18 sound stages.

As writers, we’re told to write what we know. I took that advice to heart after I sold my first book to Love Inspired Suspense. I’m a medical technologist by profession and worked in the clinical laboratory. Writing my Magnolia Medical series required research on the emerging diseases I featured in the various stories, but getting into character was easy since I knew the lab environment and what makes scientists tick.

A daytime dress rehearsal. I was up at 1 AM to watch
the filming of this scene as the two stunt men
were hoisted out of a boat and into a chopper.
My dad and husband were career army and my son is retired army. I lived the army way for years so writing my Military Investigations series that features special agents in the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division was a natural fit. I did extensive research to make certain I got the CID details right, but just as with my other series, once I had the first story under my belt, I slipped easily into character because I was comfortable in the setting and understood my military heroes and heroines.



Want some advice? Here are my Five Writing Tips for Getting into Character: 

Research!

Know the setting and learn as much as possible about your character’s profession, way of life, education, and background. Some writers fill out character charts that include favorite color, favorite food, best friend, pets, and other bits of trivia that can help you better know your characters. A few of those small details sprinkled into the story can add depth and realism. In person visits to the location or the unique environment where a story takes place adds authenticity as well.

Name that character.

In my opinion, names are important. I struggled getting into one of my characters who remained aloof. After writing more than half the book, I realized his name was the problem. Once I changed his name, the character came alive on the page. 

Short Reflections in the Character’s POV.

For particularly difficult characters, I suggest writing a first person stream of consciousness essay or reflection about the character’s backstory or some aspect of his life with which he struggles. Usually the character starts revealing himself when you take the time to hear what he has to say. 

Keep Writing!

Don’t give up. Some characters are reclusive and unwilling to reveal their flaws or fears in the first fifty pages or so. Keep writing and eventually her true nature will emerge. Then go back and revise the beginning of the story in light of the person you now know her to be. 

Check the GMC!

When having problems with a character, check his or her goals, motivation and conflict. Especially important is the internal conflict or the wound in her past that causes her to mask her true feelings and keeps her from living life to the full. Once you identify that internal wound, you can better understand your character and your story. In fact whenever my story isn’t coming together, I always review my GMC and especially the internal conflict. Often a slight tweak can bring the story into better alignment.


How do you get into character? Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing for Summer of Suspense. I’ll pick five winners. Let me know if you wish to be included in the drawing.

Happy Writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings!

Debby Giusti


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78 comments:

  1. Hi Debby:

    One way to get into character, at least for a given mood, is to try to relive an emotional experience and actually feel what your character would be feeling. This will help you become aware of the physical proxies which show the character's emotions without you having to label them. (Show, don't tell.)

    When Jackie Cooper was a child movie star he had to act the part of being told a parent had just died. He had to become emotional and cry. What the director did was tell Jackie, just before they filmed, that his dog was just run over by a truck. The boy did cry and gave a heart-breaking performance. Today this would probably be called child abuse.

    I have the, "Sumner of Suspense," on order and the wait is tantalizing!

    Vince


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    1. Good point about getting the emotion right, Vince.

      I learned actors often write action verbs in the margins of their script to quickly identify the essence of the scene. They might write "isolated" or "threatened" so at a glance they can slip into that feeling or embrace those emotions. A writer could also tag a scene to ensure their focus remained constant.

      Interesting about Jackie Cooper. I had forgotten he was a child star.

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    2. Vince, good points, I do that too. Tapping our own emotions brings depth to a character, even if the situation isn't the same.
      Kathy Bailey

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    3. Hi Debby:

      Even I'm not old enough to know Jackie Cooper as a child star. I only know this story from the director of the movie in which he pulled the dead dog trick. He also did several other 'dirty' tricks which always worked. This makes me think that Jackie caught on to the director and went along with the deep motivation to become a better actor. We may never know.

      For me, Jackie Cooper will always be Hennesey. I had a crush on his nurse, Abby Dalton. Miss Hale. This was long before Hale's Navy!

      Vince

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    4. I have often wondered how they are able to get young child actors to show the right emotion. Telling them something cruel like that doesn't seem right. But I have wondered sometimes. I was watching a show one time with a toddler and someone was taking the child off camera by saying "Let's go look at the puppies." I figured the child wouldn't understand there weren't really puppies.

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    5. Vince, I never meant YOU were a contemporary of Jackie Cooper! He was our parents' generation. But I'm sure you watched his movies on TV reruns like I did.

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  2. Debby, this is a marvelous look at good solid preparation. I love the glimpse of Georgia's "Hollywood" of the South and it's so fun to have it close by! Thanks for the mini-tour....

    I am in total agreement with name stuff... I've changed names six or seven chapters in because the name was just wrong... and the light bulb clicked on. Isn't that funny?

    And Vince, you made such a good point about getting into character. For the reader to invest in the scene, the writer must write a scene worth the emotion.

    Debby, it's so fun being with you and all these wonderful gals in "Summer of Suspense"! Hasn't it been fun being behind the scenes of all of this???? And I hope readers love it, Vince! Definitely worth the .99 price tag! :)

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    1. Interesting that you've had the same experience with naming your characters. I spend more time naming my heroes for whatever reason. The heroine's names are easier to pick perhaps. Although I did get a heroine wrong and finally realized that was the problem.

      I'm in awe of the other authors in the Summer of Suspense Anthology! Big stars, as they say in Hollywood. Lucky me to have been included.

      As for "getting into" the emotion...I'm a Scaredy Cat so I can easily conjure up fear and anxiety for my suspense stories. :)

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  3. Debby, good points, because our work is nothing without characters. I'm a Method writer (similar to a Method actor) and I try to channel my characters, especially when I'm doing mundane tasks. I try to think as they think. And I agree with Vince about using our own experiences. I have two young women in one of my contemporary series. The girl in the first book suffered from childhood sexual abuse and the girl in the sequel wasn't abused, but was dirt-poor and neglected and basically raised herself. For each of them I had to channel the fear of letting people know who they really were, because they felt worthless, and I drew on experiences from my own life. It was painful but did what I wanted it to. (BTW, I was NOT sexually abused or neglected myself.) We use everything we have, it's like my Oregon Trail ladies and their scrap quilts.
    Kathy B.

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    1. Kathy, I like that you get into your characters when doing mundane tasks! I'm going to try that technique as I dust and wash dishes. :)

      As you mentioned, even though we haven't experienced the tragedies that may have befallen our characters, we can use the pain in our own lives to relate to their situations. Great point!

      May I place your name in the drawing?

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  4. Thanks for the little note about changing names for a character. You may just have helped me fix my problem :) I feel like I still haven't written enough to have any advice about characters. They confound me sometimes and I'm still trying to learn what works for me. I'm working with my writing partner on a TV series we'd like to pitch. We're writing the third and fourth episodes and it's frustrating because I still don't know any of them well enough yet, so I'm not sure how they should react!

    BTW - we filmed our movie in Carrollton and Savannah. Georgia is a beautiful place for movie backgrounds. No wonder it's the Hollywood of the South!

    Put me in the drawing, please. I haven't pre-ordered yet :)

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    1. *grin* I know a screen writer!

      Since Glynis didn't name her movie, I'll do a shout-out. The movie is "Sinking Sand" and is available on Amazon and Amazon Prime video!

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    2. Glynis!!! I'm in awe! You rock! How exciting to write a TV series. And you also filmed a movie! Oh my goodness!!!

      Didn't you love Savannah? Such an historic and interesting city! Beautiful too! Carrollton is typical small Southern town, right? So the film is available on Amazon? Must check it out!!!

      Try the name change for your characters and see if it helps. When I started writing, I usually had less problems with my male characters. The women seemed more complex and took me longer to get to know. Of course, I didn't understand GMC and internal conflict as well back then, which I always think are the keys to creating compelling characters.

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    3. Thanks, Jan 😀

      And yes, Savannah is amazing! Since I went on my own I'm hoping in the next few years to take my hubby down there for a getaway.

      And don't be too excited about the tv series lol. Inspirational shows are hard to pitch although I know there is an audience out there somewhere and finding investors is a challenge. It may not go anywhere but it's fun.

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    4. Glynis, I just saw your name under writing credits for "Sinking Sand." Whoo-hooo! Congrats!

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  5. Character development is one of my favorite parts about writing. I have changed characters names, but in my head they remain the same as their original name. I guess too much of their personality goes into naming them the first time around.
    How interesting to live so near the movie studios. I've heard it said that movies are a lazy person's way of reading, but I don't believe that. Movies give us great visuals and insights into a character that books can't reach. And vice versa. Thanks for a fun post, Debby

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    1. Cindy, you must give your characters great names at the beginning of your story. I spend far too long finding that perfect fit.

      So true about movies and books each having value. I love seeing a story unfold on the big screen, yet I also love delving into a good book and visualizing the story in my mind's eye as it plays out.

      An aside for anyone writing Amish characters, I subscribe to THE BUDGET, a Holmes County, Ohio paper that features Mennonite and Amish news from around the country and in foreign communities as well. The paper is a great source for the names of my Amish characters.

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  6. Great tips, thank you! No. four is something I came across recently with a character who didn't want to talk. Wish I'd had this advice sooner. Might have helped me be more patient and less like a threatening interrogator.

    Thanks for the giveaway. Please add me to the mix. :0)

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    1. Samantha, you're in the drawing. Be sure to check the upcoming Weekend Edition to see if you won!

      Each character is unique. Often I've had to write that first-person reflection, change the name and keep moving forward with the story because I couldn't get into my character. Usually if the process is that daunting I have a problem with the backstory and internal wound. Once I fix those issues, the story and characters start to work!

      WHEW! The things we have to do to know our characters! :)

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  7. What a cool look into the "Hollywood of the South!" I had heard that a lot of movies were made in Georgia, but I hadn't realized that some major studios were there, too!

    Sometimes getting my characters to talk is the hardest thing about starting a new story. It's better since I've started using Susan May Warren's Story Equation. I let my characters tell me about themselves and I find that I get to know them very well...better than I want to, sometimes!

    Thanks, Debby!

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    1. Jan, thanks for mentioning Susie's Story Equation. Is that a book or workbook? Or did you take one of her classes? I've love to learn more.

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    2. I bought her book, "The Story Equation" after she did a guest post here on Seekerville. It opened a new window into my writing life! Her method just clicked with me. :-)

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    3. That post from Susan May Warren is in the Seekerville archives -
      seekervillearchives.blogspot.com/2017/10/one-question-that-will-unlock-your.html

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    4. I found Susie's post. Good stuff. Similar to what we know with GMC and internal conflict and the wound that Michael Hauge teaches, but with a bit of a twist. Definitely worth a read.

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  8. Hi Debby:

    There was a time on websites that it was popular to interview the characters of a book to question them about the experiences they just had. I wrote a bunch of these myself at the time.

    What do you think of interviewing your characters at various phases of your WIP?

    How are things going so far?
    Do you think you've really got a chance to overcome this conflict?
    What do you like best about the heroine?
    Do you think the heroine would make a good mother?
    Do you see any red flags with getting involved with this heroine? What are they?


    Imagine how the answers to these questions could change as the characters move along their arcs.

    The characters might even tell you things that need fixing that you didn't even realize.

    This might even better be called: How the characters get into YOU!

    Vince

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    1. I love your idea, Vince! It's a bit like the reflection I mentioned but more in depth and specific to the story as it's unfolding. Hmmm? I might try your technique and see what my characters have to say! :)

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  9. Debby, I had forgotten about you getting caught in the bushes during the filming on the lake!! hahaha Wish I could have been there to see that. :)

    What a great post! I love your ideas for getting into character. I find the GMC extremely helpful. To me, the internal GMC is what helps me really understand the characters.

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    1. Thank goodness Deb Dixon came up with GMC...or at least wrote her wonderful book around the concept. I remember early in my writing journey that I struggled to understand all the facets of GMC. Then I had that light bulb moment! I remember calling my critique partner to tell her I finally "GOT" GMC! :)

      Missy, you used character charts in the past, as I recall. Do you still?

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    2. Debby, yes, I do still use a modified GMC chart to start off with in my plotting. I added some stuff from Carolyn Greene's plotting notebook to the regular GMC chart.

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  10. I was thinking about how some characters 'show up' so easily and some need to be coerced into revealing themselves after months together. But it's wonderful when they do! That's so much like real people, so I guess that means we're doing it right! Vince has it right - how characters get into you. :)


    I love that whole village that's been created for the industry!

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    1. Vince is right. The problem with characters is undoubtedly MY problem. I've got the stumbling block or haven't worked hard enough to understand them and how they tick.

      Rosie Glick was an Amish character in my Amish Protectors series. I wrote about her in a previous blog. Her name was first mentioned in book one. She played a small role in book two and three. Then she demanded her own story. Rosie was one of those forthright characters who didn't hold anything back. If only they could all be like Rosie! :)

      As Vince would say, Rosie got into me!

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  11. Debby, this was a fun post. It must be neat to live near these studios. I didn't realize there were so many actual studios in Georgia. I agree that getting the right name for the character is important. I struggle with that sometimes. On the other hand, sometimes they pop right out at me. In the book I'm writing, a character walks into a nursing home. I could just "see" the nametag on the woman who greets her and it just popped out at me.

    No need to put me in the drawing. I have already won this book. I'm very excited to read it.

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    1. Sandy, I'm smiling at your character's nametag. For me, writing has a spiritual element. I pray for God's inspiration and feel his hand on mine so many times...especially in those amazing coincidences like the one you mentioned.

      There are many studios in GA. Fort McPherson in Atlanta was deactivated and Tyler Perry bought all the old historic homes and Civil War era barracks. He erected tall fencing for privacy and now films there. Lots of filming is done in the city Atlanta, as well as in the surrounding area.

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  12. Dear Ms. Sleuth,

    Love to start my morning with a chuckle! “Lady, we can see you. Please move away from the water.” Such a wonderful picture in my mind! Had no idea you were so adventurous! I have found myself in such precarious positions and can totally relate!

    Wonderful tips on Getting Into Character. Thanks for sharing and for sharing your fun experiences.

    I would love to be in the drawing. Thank you!

    Blessings and have a tea-riffic Wednesday!

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    1. After my spy adventure, I worried that I might have rubbed up against some poison ivy. Thankfully, I didn't! :)

      Kathryn, I mentioned THE BUDGET in an earlier comment. You're the one who told me about the paper. Thank you! I've been a subscriber for two years.

      You're in the drawing!

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    2. Yes...I LOVE The Budget...and can keep up with my Amish friends in the Ozarks, but I haven't subscribed for awhile. Glad you're enjoying it. Isn't it fun? It's like a printed version of Facebook without photos. Thanks for entering me in the drawing!

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    3. The Budget...Amish FB in print. Too funny, Kathryn, but you're right! LOL!

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  13. Hi Debby, I enjoyed this post and even though I'm not a writer I can use GMC myself in my everyday life. Goals-Motivation-Conflict. We all face these daily!
    I would love to be entered in your drawing.
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Connie, great point about using GMC for our own personal journeys. I've reflected on the idea of internal wounds and anything from the past that might hold me back. My father was an accomplished technical writer and heavily critiqued my school writing projects. I'm grateful for what he taught me, but I also know that I'm hard on myself because of him. Kind of a two-edged sword.

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    2. Connie, you're in the drawing!

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  14. Wow--Debby--I'm just a hop, skip and a jump away from Pinewood and Senoia myself, but I had no idea about most of this! And what great tips for getting into character. That's a slow process for me--often I have to write a chapter or two before I really "feel" a new character's personality. But once I do--the book really takes off. I'm definitely trying your stream of consciousness idea--maybe that'll speed things up for me. I've preordered Summer of Suspense! What a great collection of talented authors! Looking forward to it!

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  15. Laurel, loved your recent blog about the animals who appear in your stories! I keep thinking of your goose! We had 30 geese on the lake a few days ago. Most of them are Canadian Geese. Two geese are white, and a white duck has attached herself to them. I'm not sure the geese like her, but she's determined to be part of their gaggle.

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    1. Thanks, Debby! That was a fun post to share. Our goose is a force to be reckoned with, for sure. She's sweet to us, but she bosses our Muscovy ducks like a drill sergeant and keeps them toeing the line. She protects them too--she nearly died facing down a raccoon a few months ago! So here at least--geese and ducks seem to get along really well!

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  16. So many great authors in this collection! Can't wait to read these stories. Thanks for the opportunity.
    smincer10(at)gmail(dot)com

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  17. Hi Debby:

    What do you think would happen if you were hypnotized and told you were your character? Someone could then conduct an interview and you could tape it and get the goods right from the horse's mouth (as a matter of speaking only, of course.)

    Then again, it might be more productive to hypnotize your character and tell her she is the author and ask her what should come next in your WIP. (I know, end of conflict, HEA on the first day!)

    Vince

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    1. You're too funny, Vince! I'm not going to be hypnotized...even if it might enhance my story. :)

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  18. What terrific advice. I am with you on the name...I was struggling with a proposal set in the 1930s, with a heroine named Nell. A perfectly period-appropriate name, but...blah. The moment I changed her name to Ruby, BAM! The story ideas really started flowing!

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    1. Erica!!! I love the name Ruby! Bet she's a fantastic character. Ruby was probably upset when you kept referring to her as Nell.

      I don't blame her. I would be upset as well. Nell Giusti! No way! LOL!

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  19. Ruby?

    Oh, Ruby, "don't take your love to town!!!" Ruby?


    Nelly Bly, around the world in 72 days!
    Heroine of adventurist travelers and feminists!

    Of course, the Ruby is the RITA of romance awards in Australia.

    I've heard about what authors want and what characters want but how about what readers want?

    Oh, don't forget Roy Rogers Jeep, Nellybelle which Roy actually owned!

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    1. I loved that song, Vince!

      And I did forget the name of Roy Rogers' Jeep. Shame on me! You know I had lunch with Dale. She was a delightful lady.

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  20. Six Characters in Search of an Author


    Read, view, or attend the above play.

    The Lesson: When the author is ready, the characters will appear.

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  21. I also think a name is important to a character. A name sets the tone and is odd but true that certain names just fit a character. I'm sure research can help feel out what name fits. I know a woman who is a lawyer and her mother was a Disney fan and her name is Bambi. To this day I still can't get over that her mother named her that. I would like to be in giveaway.

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    1. I know a Bambi, too! I don't believe it!!!

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    2. I worked with Bambi at Bridal Hall and her mother was a hippie (if I'm remembering correctly) and the other choice of names was "Aurora Borealis"... so it was Bambi for the win!

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  22. Myra, you're in the drawing! I agree about names. Poor Bambi. Or maybe she loved the name.

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  23. Hi Debby,I'm afraid I can't give credit where credit is due, but several years ago someone developed a character worksheet. (Maybe someone from Seekerville??)The worksheet covered every aspect of a character's life and as you thought about the answers, your character began to come to life. It was an awesome tool!

    Please enter me in the drawing!

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    1. Edwina, I remember that worksheet. It was extensive! I believe Missy used it and may have blogged about it.

      You're in the drawing! Hope your husband is doing well. Prayers always!

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  24. Role Play Weekend!

    "Don't get into your character…become your charater!"

    How about getting two or more of your writer friends to stay at a resort with each of you becoming your WIP heroine for the weekend. Play the part, wear the clothes, and have a full-immersion (that means no coming out of character!) hen-party!

    Grip about the heroes, or moon over them, talk about your plans and dreams, problems, and past life… but be your character 24/7 for a whole weekend!

    Can't do that? Get your hubby to go along with the plan for a weekend away! It would be like having a new woman! (Warning: don't let him like your character better.)

    I'd go for this is my wife was a writer. I know just the state lodge to visit.

    Vince

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    1. Dave would lock me up in a home for the Persons in Need of Supervision... :)

      BUT IT SOUNDS FUN!!!!!

      But then who has time, my friend?????

      Not complaining, but the reality is that life ensues.

      (And you know me, I am not a huge proponent of all the add-ons that go along with writing, I'd rather bake cookies and walk in Fields of Gold.

      Fields of Gold by Sting

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    2. Ruth:

      If a weekend in the role of your heroine would win your novel a Nobel Prize would you still not do it? Would you rather have the gold itself or just a walk in fields of gold?

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    3. I've heard of brainstorming sessions where the author is quizzed by the other writers and she responds as her characters would. Does that work, Vince? :)

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    4. Hi Debby:

      That would work very well indeed. But I've thought about it and I don't think Ruth should change how she writes, add-ons or not; she is just doing too well as it is. So no weekends for Ruth. Now, me, I need all the add-ons I can do. :)

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  25. Great post, Debby. :) I cannot really get into my story until I "know" those characters--even the secondary ones.

    This was a fun post---had to giggle at the director saying they could see you hiding in the trees! ;)

    We're headed to our GA coast soon, and unfortunately scenes of The Walking Dead are supposed to be filming on Jekyll Island while we're there--we're bracing for lots of people and traffic!

    Hugs, Patti Jo

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    1. Have fun, Patti Jo! You might see a zombie or two! :)

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  26. You know, sometimes I find the opposite to be true. I had a character come to me a while back... she's an adoptee with special circumstances and when she discovers a truth about her family, she's determined to have her place in their biological lineage... but that's a tricky business, isn't it?

    And the legalities now, when children are involved, because laws favor family placement in many states. But what does that mean?

    And I could SEE this beautiful woman, and her very nicely orchestrated life, but the longing inside to be one of her own.... so then I had to plan a story (and actually a series) to get to her story.... and the hero's story.

    So sometimes (like Rosie Glick!) that character is so vibrant and real that we plan around him/her.... kind of like the Kohler commercial where the couple hands the architect a faucet and says "Plan around this>>>>"

    (Now that doesn't mean I think it's SMART to design a crazy huge house around a faucet, but I have NEVER FORGOTTEN THE COMMERCIAL or SPONSOR and that makes it worth everything they paid, right?

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    1. Some characters demand to be noticed! Creating fiction is an amazing process!

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    2. Hi Ruth:

      I love the power of that faucet ad and creating something that memorable does not have to apply only to advertising. How about having cover art for your books that have the same memory staying power? Or, even better, how about a last chapter that is impossible to get out of your memory?

      Lucy Gordon had an ending like that which I can still see in my memory, (as if it actually happened when I was in Italy), when all the residents of a small Italian mountain town marched, with a full brass band, behind the hero who was on his way to the heroine's house in order to propose to her! The whole town wanted her to marry him and stay their local doctor. I can still hear the band playing!

      To have moments like that faucet ad, you have to plan them, which means, you have to know that such things are possible!

      Let's see what you can do with this. I'm sure you are a believer.

      Vince

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    3. Now before everyone starts believing their characters, please remember that they are all in your head!

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  27. Debby, wow! I didn't realize there were so many studios in Georgia. How fun to be near them. I grinned when I read about your being caught by the water as you watched them film a scene. Our family are big fans of Marvel movies. I have two boys, what can I say? ;)

    I appreciate your tips for getting into character. There have been times when I've been kind of stuck. I hadn't thought to evaluate something as "basic" as their GMC. Thanks for that tip.

    I really like using Susan May Warren's SEQ method for getting to know my characters. I learn a lot as I figure out their dark moment from the past, how it's formed them, and the why's of who they are now, and why they act the way they do.

    PS—Sorry I'm so late to comment on this post. :) It's been a crazy-busy summer.

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    1. Jeanne, so good seeing your comment! I know you're a big fan of Susie's process. I need to get her book! I use a wound as well and have to get that right before the story gels.

      Yes, relook GMC and especially the internal conflict when you're stuck. Most of the time when I'm struggling with a story, it's because of a problem with my character's GMC!

      I'm sure your boys love Marvel movies. If they ever mention seeing a strange woman hiding in the bushes during a scene in a movie, that could be me!

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  28. Thank you for this wonderful post Debby Please put me in the drawing for this amazing read! Love all the Authors!

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