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.
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.”
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Wishing you abundant blessings!
Long Days. Hot Nights. Deadly Secrets.
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