Thursday, June 21, 2012

Listening to our characters...a tip from the top

Today is Thursday and that means a tip from the top. I really don't have time to look through all my writing books and find out where this tip is but I know it is there in some form so you're going to have to trust me on this one (or let me know which books it is in!).

Tip: slow down and listen to your characters - they aren't puppets you know! Really, you must listen to what they want to tell you and in order to do that you need to drop your speedy ways and just hang out on the river bank with them, chewing on a piece of grass, watching the river fill the banks like it does in the summer. Listen to what is important to them - why they lodged themselves in your heart to begin with and demanded that you start writing down their story.

Top: ????

How it Works in My Life:  I've been burning up with writing for the last 21 days - getting my story down, slam, bam, thank-you ma'am, and as of two days ago that came to an end. For the last two days I've been pushing the river, as we say in psychotherapy circles. Trying to force my peeps to do something. My last bit of truly listening was when my main characters were in an IHOP in Gallup, New Mexico. This morning I was lying in bed, sipping my coffee and going 'Huh? Wha' happen?'. Then I remembered what I'm doing. I'm not trying for best BuNo star status. I've already met my original goal and surpassed it. (it was to do 25 thou, I've done 36). I don't need a manuscript that sails along and then becomes a dog's dinner. So I'm going to slooooooow down and listen. I think, in my case, it is because I got anxious about having this vague idea of what is going to happen but the true figuring of it hasn't arrived in my brain pan yet - I guess I mean that I know the feeling I'm after but not how to get that going. So I've had my eye on the prize when I need to have my eye on the track in front of me. And my ear open and listening.

Where are you all at in your writing - stuck or full-steam ahead or somewhere in the middle. Wherever you are don't forget to slow down once in awhile and really listen.

1 comment:

Jemi Fraser said...

I'm in editing/revising mode so no drafting here (*sigh* that's my favourite mode...). I'm polishing one story and looking at a first draft of another, so lots to do! Love the tip - it really works for me too :)