10.16.2009

Break‘s Over Kiddies

10.16.2009
I was taken aback the other day when a colleague confided in me that he had an epitaph the previous night. For a brief moment, thoughts of gloom and concern scoured my brain. A second later I found myself having to contain the insatiable desire to burst out laughing, spittle sprinkling his face, in full roars of laughter.

“You mean, and epiphany, right?”

Yeah. Way to go collegial educational system.

Alas, I had my own – dare I say it? – epiphany later that day as well. And of course, it directly related to my writing. In speaking with my wife about the day-to-day “how was work stuff” it suddenly hit me, like a slap square on my forehead, and I could almost hear the [now] ominous Doh!

She was asking for my opinion on how to approach a certain situation at her job, with her boss and colleagues. And I, being the least qualified to so, proceeded to give her my advice based on the personalities of the people she labors with everyday. I knew which tactic would work best with each one because I knew them. I knew their likes, their pet peeves, and because of that, their possible reactions. Even though I have only met them once, and for like two minutes at best. But I knew them through her. Her stories of her work day and such had been so excellent that I felt like I knew these folks. Hence, the epiphany.

This is how I want my readers to feel about my characters. I don’t want to tell you who my character is; I want you to discover him\her. To figure them out. I’ve spent so much time on crafting clues for the plot, for the reader to figure out the mystery of my novel as they read along, that I have somewhat neglected the people in it. Leave it to a self declared anti-social to forget about the people, right? This has inspired me, not to recreate my characters, but to quit restraining the natural voices I know they each have, and let them play on the page. If my wife, who does not speak English natively, can craft her coworkers in my head so well, surely, surely I can do at least the same. Maybe she should be the writer. And then I can dedicate myself to epitaphs.

Regardless, break is over me. It’s time to get back to work. What about you? How’s your WIP coming along? Oh, and I have to give a shout out to L.T. Host for getting a mention over at Nathan Bransford’s Blog for her first paragraph. It truly is an attention grabber. Great work!

11 comments:

L. T. Host

My WIP is shining after today, haha. Thanks for the mention and congrats, Jm.

I completely agree with you that a character has to have their own voice to be real, to give the reader an idea how they'll act in any given situation. Then they should act that way, or surprise the reader in a fashion that still makes sense for their personality.

It's a tricky thing, but it's one of the things that I love most about writing--- how tricky it all is. :)

Natalie L. Sin

So far, so good. I have about another thousand words to go, after which I can have the story pre-read and polished : )

Jm Diaz

@L.T. You're welcome. Most deserving. I know I want to know more about your story ;)

@Natalie, I'm happy to hear about progress. Do you do your own proof reading, have a friend, or a crit group?

Natalie L. Sin

@Jm, my husband proofreads my stories, even though he HATES horror *lol* If I have a story that isn't working, I have a crit group/some kick-ass friends to read it for me and let me know where I fucked up ; )

MeganRebekah

My WIP is in dire need of attention. I have thoughts and ideas brimming over in my head, and I need to capture them all on paper.

I love the epitath/ephiphany! It makes me think of the movie Zoolander, where Derek gives a Eu-googl-ee

Jo Ann

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Katie

Great post and what a cool way to remind us of not forgetting our characters. I am revising and it is friggin' HARD! But enough about that - I'll figure it out eventually.

At least I hope so.

If not, I'll write my epitaph.

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT

thanks Jm. made my day to read your comment on my blog. :)

jeannie
The Character Therapist

Anissa

I've been working a lot on characterization in this draft of my WIP. Great reminder to let their voices shine through.

Cammie

You are spot on about letting the characters' voices take over ... I think every author knows when that moment hits, and it's quite a load off!

Corra McFeydon

LOL -- epitaph. :)

Great points here. I think as writers we tend to look too closely at our work, and it's an enlightening moment when we remember the characters are already alive within us.

Too often as writers we're trying to drive the car rather than leaning back for the ride.

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