DO YOU GET IN THE WAY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?

AudienceAnother word for this is ‘Author Intrusion.’ As a writer/author, we have a good idea of what our story will be. We set up character sheets and know our protagonist or antagonist from top to bottom. We know their likes and dislikes, their favorite colors, their secrets and fantasies. Yet, sometimes we inject our own feelings and goals for the characters.

Wait a minute. This is the characters’ story and we are writing what they are showing us that needs to be done. It is their point of view, not ours, that keeps the story fresh, rolling forward, and adding surprises along the way. As we write, we remember catchy phrases we heard growing up and these words creep onto the page.

Ask yourself, would my character say those word, or are you trying to make the story interesting with your words. Dialogue can be a big help, but  too much information and going the way the writer wants, is not helping your story. Adding your narrative is not the way to go, as you leave no room for the character to be his or herself. Read a new piece of work or a published novel and see if you can pinpoint the dialogue intrusion.

How about information dumping on your characters? What is their back story? Your character is in the present and remembers a particular time with fondness or fear. You want to get this on the page and share with the reader. Then, pages later, the past is still with the character. Why? The writer/author got caught up in their own memories and could quit writing.

One of the best ways to check for the writer/author taking over is to read your work, not in your head but with your voice. When you hear yourself reading, you catch so many different areas that should not be there. Don’t stop, use a highlighter or add comments from the computer and continue. Then go back and take yourself out of the story. Let the characters take full control.

You are on a search and rescue.  HAPPY HUNTING. HAPPY WRITING.

What If?

What did you sayHuh? What if what? This is all about imagination, daydreams and fantasy. If you do not use all of these tools, how can you be creative? Let’s take a look at all three categories and see which ones we need to work on a little harder.

IMAGINATION – are you so wrapped up in reality that you must have your information researched and researched before you start writing? Sure, if you write non-fiction, historical romances, yes. You need the details to be correct, but you also need to use your imagination. You don’t, your writing to read like ‘dullsville.’

Remember as a kid, watching the clouds form and float in the sky? You could see dogs, cats, even your mom or dad. Each day the clouds would create a different picture for you. It was exciting to guess what would be next.

Also, imagination is a game of pretend. You pretend to be something you are not and have fun acting out the part. Why can’t you project this type of playground for your writing? Your characters are part of your imagination and you give them the feeling of being so real, the readers can reach out and attach themselves to your characters’ lifestyles. All of a sudden, you notice your writing becomes more creative and energizing to you and your readers.

FANTASY – You need some of this in your writing. Go way back to Cinderella and look for all of the fantasy throughout the whole book. Look at all of the paranormal writings we now encounter. Fantasy is laced into reality, but you do not lead the reader down either path. All these paths are part of the story. The reader is not misled, rather enticed to keep reading more.

DAYDREAMS – these are part of our daily lives. You know the kind where you can sit and dream of a situation you would love to be in,about the job you always wanted, or about the hero you have yet to meet? Don’t stop and recapture these intimate moments and give your characters their own daydreams.

Look at some of your works-in-progress and see where you could add a fantasy or two. Or, let your heroine daydream about her future, and let your hero imagine himself as a completely different person. Throw blocks in to prevent these happenings and see what creative avenues these characters take to climb over the blocks and get what they want.

As a writer, when you can combine reality with any of these items– Imagination, Fantasy, and Daydreams–and still remain true to your story, your characters, and your readers, you are on A ROLL. Do not stop and see where your encounters take you. Just be true to who you are and what you are writing. Let your mind wander and hear what your heart wants to say. Give your creative side the ‘What If’ attitude and let your pen and paper or your fingers and the keyboard bring you happiness and your readers yelling for more.

PLAY WITH YOUR CREATIVE SIDE.  Happy Writing.