Saturday, August 6, 2011

Libba Bray: Hello, My Name is...:Getting Past the First Date with Your Characters

Today Libba is going to talk about the mediocre because she believes that’s where attention is not paid to character.

Characters aren’t memorable if they give us what we expect and are just status quo.

Her number one pet peeve is when she’s reading and she feeling like the author is giving her some BS (you know what I mean).

“In the universal is the particular.”

How do we get to that place where we are writing memorable characters?

-You read! Read as far and wide as you possibly can.
-Allow yourself to play. Be the characters.
-Think of your characters like nesting dolls. It’s fun to open each layer.
-Know what your character wants. If you get stuck, that’s the engine that propels it all.
-Write from the outside in, relating to writing about other times or other cultures. Research is important and fun.

It’s always important to remember that people are people.

It’s fun (and can be helpful) to have a playlist for a book, and also for a specific character. Music often helps Libba find the character.

Libba keeps a spiral notebook with her always. It’s astonishing how much goes into the pre-thinking. She also sometimes interviews her characters.

It’s also helpful to monologue it. As a free write, Libba might write a letter. Or think about what a character would say over a PA. Or give a graduation speech. It can help get the juices flowing.

Acting is excellent training for writing.

Keep in mind, that characters often lie. 

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