Becoming your Character: True Story

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

I had this blog post in mind all week - the scenarios I was going to use as examples, how to explain what I wanted. And then today, the weirdest thing happened! (Well technically it was yesterday...) A real life scenario!

Since the weather has warmed up a bit (okay a lot) here in Georgia, I have started taking my son to the park, pretty much every day. Today it was sweltering! But I was determined to go!

So, I put on the sunscreen, baseball hats, got plenty of juice and headed out. Little man of course enjoyed the walk (more like he enjoyed the ride, sitting comfortably in his stroller) to the park, about 7 long blocks away, down hill.

Well not too long after we get there I start feeling sick. Completely nauseous and dizzy. I'm having trouble breathing at a normal pace. I needed to get out of the sun ASAP or I was going to pass out.

Well guess what? The trip back home is UP HILL!

So I'm trying to take deep breaths and not rush it but it's not really helping much. I'm about half a block away from the top of the hill (and another two blocks to the house) when I could feel it. I was going to pass out right then. With no sidewalks, I was walking on the side of the street so I began to push the little man up onto the curb. (My only thought was "Don't let him roll down the hill!")

Lo and behold what catches my eye coming around the corner? MY HUBBY!! I never felt more relieved in my entire life! I collapsed on the curb and literally said "Thank God you're here!"

How does this story relate to the topic at hand? Well in my novel Rosyani and Bel, at different points in the story both say exactly the same thing, for almost the same reason - utter relief! I am not the damsel in distress type but I can tell you today, I was SO glad that my knight in shining armor came along! (No, my hubby did not bribe me to say that!)

Anyway, the point of this post really is to become you character in some shape or form. This can be something simple like changing what hand you write with or just acting like your character for a day. Become your character - like actors do on the stage all the time. Think like them, talk like them, be them. Just for an hour, an afternoon, a day. I guarantee it's not only a lot of fun but you really get to know them.

How would Rosyani react to a computer? Or a car? Her world does not have such things. It was really fun to think about a computer, that I use every day, from her point of view. She would ask what spell made the words appear on the screen or what sort of magic I was endowed with. That's her world. It really put things into perspective for me with her - how she thought and why she thought it. It cemented the type of world she grew up in, the way she was raised.

The same with Bel. How would she react to the camera? Or the clothes that I wear? Again, this really gave me some insight into Bel. No, she does not have these things in her world but it really showed me her inner self. How she deals with confusion, fear, anxiety, awe and even love.

I do not recommend you throwing yourself in harms way to understand what it feels like to be rescued. But, I can tell that my own little experience today, will greatly help me write those scenes.

5 Responses to "Becoming your Character: True Story"

Dawn Embers Says :
April 6, 2010 at 3:51 AM

Interesting. I've never been very good at this, not much of an actress for sure. But this is something that my speech coach (speech and debate team) suggested my first year on the team. I had a drama piece that required an accent that was non-wyoming, and she suggested I try to spend the whole day talking like that. It was a section from the Diary of Anne Frank, if you're interested in knowing. Don't remember if I ever did the exercise since that was back in 9th grade.

I've never thought about using that exercise for novel writing. I dream as my characters, sure, but acting like gay men in waking hours... might be a bit weird. lol

Harley D. Palmer Says :
April 6, 2010 at 3:58 AM

Yea that would be a bit funny! Let me know if you try it and how it turned out!

I am a big fan of the theater and I miss drama class in school, so I love doing this exercise to get to know my characters. Plus, it helps me to relax a little bit too from my wonderfully busy schedule, to just be someone else - even for a second. And if it helps me get out of writer's block - all the better!

Ann Elle Altman Says :
April 6, 2010 at 2:19 PM

That's a great way to express your point. I think we're all like our characters in one way or another. Love your story and I'm sure your husband will smile at your post today.

DL Hammons Says :
April 6, 2010 at 7:32 PM

Phew! Way to make a point. But an excellent suggestion though.

Anonymous Says :
April 6, 2010 at 10:39 PM

I feel bad, but blogger ate your comment :( I'm sorry.

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