Wednesday, November 10, 2010

IMing Your Way Into Your Character's Head

(This is a repost from my own writing blog...we've got a bit of illness going around, and Mom caught it, but this is a great writing tip I hope comes in handy, especially for those of you that are doing NaNo or struggling with knowing your characters. Write on, my friends!)

So I have a great writing pal that is taking an online writing course. For one of her assignments she had to have a conversation with someone as if she were the character. She asked for volunteers, and we had a two hour chat, via IM (instant messaging) this morning, me as my character, her as hers.

Wow. I mean I knew my character pretty well, but I discovered things about her that I didn't know as we talked. How she comes off as icy and a control freak, but inside she's a mess. She has doubts about her current relationship that I (as the writer) didn't know. She's also afraid she's too damaged to ever have true love, or be truly open with someone.

I got to know more about her motivations and internal feelings than I had after all this time working with her. It was fabulous. Thanks tons, Anne!

"If you have the means, I highly recommend it." Ferris Bueller

Seriously, if you're struggling with getting to know a character, find someone who can do this with you. You'll be glad you did.


  1. This is a brilliant idea! I'm not quite certain that I fully know my MC right now, and I've been trying to figure out a way to get her down right. But, this might be a stupid question, but if you don't really know your character yet, how do you get into her head for this exercise?

  2. The best way is to have some interview questions to get you started, like "How did you find yourself in this situation?" "What kind of influence were your parents or lack there of?" "How did you feel after (fill in the blank situation)happened?" Any type of question that will get you and your partner thinking. We found that after just a couple of those, the questions just flowed out of the conversation. In my case, I was doing my MC, but my friend was doing her antagonist. It was really fun poking and prodding a psychopath, lol.

  3. Also, you and your partner have to stay in character. Use "I feel..." etc. We did stop from time to time to ask "real life" questions, but then get going again in the character, like an actor would. Hope it helps!

  4. Megan, what a fantastic idea! I hope your family starts feeling better soon. :( Don't worry, I repost at times from my personal blog or from here to there. ;)

    As for IMing as my MC, I'd need a willing victim for that. :)

  5. I might have to try this. I'm revising and my character is undergoing some major changes -this could help me rewrite her better. Thanks.

  6. What an awesome idea. I may have to try this...



Related Posts with Thumbnails