Uh-oh. Hers were gone, too.
Or maybe blogpolls.com just had server problems.
I never claimed to be smart, which is probably why I’m preparing to start a new book.
I’m a pantster rather than a plotter, which means I typically have little idea where a story is headed when I dive in. One thing I do like to have before I start is a basic understanding of the characters. Who are they? What makes them tick? If we went out for drinks and the waiter said there was only one glass of Stoller 2008 JV Estate Pinot Noir left, who would win in a swordfight for it?
These are crucial things to determine, so here are a few tricks I’ve tried for getting to know new characters.
Job hunt. One of the first things I usually decide is what my characters do for a living. From there, I try to learn as much as I can about those professions. What’s her daily routine like? What schooling would he need to have? Does she go out for martini lunches or huddle in a corner of a dimly lit break room eating a peanut butter sandwich? Understanding what my characters spend most of their time doing is a big part of understanding what they’re like as people.
Roleplay. Sadly, this isn’t as kinky as it sounds. Grab a friend or critique partner, sit down with a cup of coffee, and pretend you’ve just met. Not only have you just met, but you are your character. Ask each other typical “get to know you” questions. Where did you grow up? What’s your family like? Do you prefer boxers or briefs? You won’t always have the answers in mind before you start, but giving fast, gut-level responses to questions like these can help get you into the mindset of an unfamiliar character.
Get crafty. Some authors make collages for books they’re beginning to write. It’s a practice I’ve long admired in theory, but have never pursued due to inherent laziness and a general lack of craftiness. Even so, I like the idea of having something visual to start my wheels turning, so I recently spent an hour browsing online for photos that matched my mental picture of my new characters. I printed out the pictures and pinned them on the bulletin board beside my desk. This comes with the added bonus of having them staring disdainfully down at me as I spend an hour dicking around on Damn You Autocorrect instead of working.
10 things no one knows. Sit down with a pen and paper and make a list of ten things about your character that few people know. These things don’t have to appear in the book – in fact, it’s sometimes best if they don’t – but they’re a good way to gain insight into the character’s inner self. Is he secretly afraid of the dark? Does she refuse to eat apricot jelly because it reminds her of that unfortunate incident with the jumper cables and the guy who insisted she call him Marsha? If you’re lucky, you’ll stumble over a few surprises as you go.
What do you do when you’re trying to get to know new characters? Do you prefer to become acquainted gradually as you ease into the story, or do you perform any sort of preliminary groundwork? Please share.
And don’t steal that apricot jelly thing. I think I’m onto something with that one.
That’s where I turn my wireless keyboard upside down and shake until an entire meal falls out in the form of various discarded food particles.
I now have that ½ cup of sesame seeds I needed for a recipe.
When I returned the keyboard to its rightful spot, I couldn’t help but notice something. Several keys have been worn to the point that the letters are no longer visible.
It’s most noticeable with my A, my S, my D, my E, and my T.
Though I like that idea, a more likely culprit is the fact that the fingernails on my left pinky and ring finger tend to grow longer than the rest, resulting in harder wear on those keys.
Yes, I did say harder, though for the record, my H key is perfectly intact.
I’m curious about this phenomenon though. Does your keyboard have certain letters that have rubbed off? What are they, and why do you think that might be? Please share!
And if you want to come over later this afternoon, I’ll whip up a nice snack with keyboard food particles.
|If you're going to indulge in a 3-way, there's really no excuse for having an ugly one.|
|Besides being confused about how it sticks to the wall without screws, I'm suspicious of anything that's screwless.|
|Just when you thought you had to throw out that rubber with the hole in it. This plug solves all your problems. The guys at Home Depot think of everything.|
|I can't actually think of why you'd need to connect them, unless it's got something to do with the beautiful 3-way?|
|Words fail me on this one. So much potential for filth, but I just can't find my focus.|