By E.D. Vaughn
Writing poses many challenges, and I love every second of it. Honest… even the bad days of growling at the computer non-stop. I wouldn’t trade this for anything in the world. I’ve realized we all go through an ebb and flow with writing and I’ve accepted this… more or less. And there are times I want to scream (and often do freaking out the poor Corgi in the process).
The latest problem: How do you get into your character’s mindset?
It’s a dilemma and really frustrating, annoying, aggravating, etc. I’ll have the plot basically down, but can’t quite sink my teeth into/onto a character. I know what I want or what will work, but… (pretty sure you can add whatever and it’ll fit).
Then one day, while swearing up a storm in frustration, I wrote a letter. I don’t even know why since I hadn’t done it in years. When I finished I realized how much I miss it. (I’m from a time when we had pen pals and actually wrote on that thing called stationary with pens and put it into something called an envelope. I licked a stamp or four and poof… it traveled to its destination over the next few weeks, depending how far away.) To my amazement, as I reread the letter, I’d written as if it were the character I had been bitc… complaining about. Huh. I’m pretty sure I blinked for a few minutes wondering how it happened.
Since I love to write letters and no one to actually write them too, I’ll send them out into the universe. Seems simple enough. To me, they make sense and I’ll be able to use it to help tune-in more to the emotions and situation a character might be going through. Mix a bit of this and a dash of that and ~Voila~ .
Around this same time, I had been trying to figure out what to do with my blog. I only had a couple postings on it but wanted to do more with no clue of what. Needing to do something to push myself back into writing more since real life seems to pull me out of that frame of mind too often this last year. Now I might have an idea that could work for me.
I’m going to write letters.
It seems simple enough. Some could be personal (highly doubtful since I’m the type that generally tells you how I feel to your face), but mostly it will be in reference to characters I’m working on or ones that have some unfinished business (in my head that won’t let me sleep!). This might be a win-win since I can always use more sleepy-sleep.
I’ll see how it goes as I try to fumble my way through this new idea, agenda, whatever. Since I’m a photographer too, I changed the format (while attempting to write the first draft of this blog post) to have more pictures. (Fully in denial in having W.B. –Writer’s Brain- also known as W.A.D.D. –Writer’s Attention Deficit Dysfunction… as I check out bookshelves during the final draft of editing while online for my precious books… still sitting in boxes after the most recent move). It’s hard to miss the boxes in the room (not the elephant but almost as large), and it’s practically killing me not seeing them all pretty and on shelves. (One rather large bookshelf died in storage and is missed.) Anyways, after I get a few more letters going and see how I feel about the progress, I may change formats again to have a section of letters on my main blog. That’s something to deal with later though since it doesn’t really pertain to getting into your character’s head. Well, sort of, but not in context to this blog. If someone ever tried to write a story of me, they’d be soooo confused!
The point to all this is not to rub an idea in your face or show how scatter-brained I am now, but to share different ways to go about finding a character. Maybe rolling your eyes or laughing while reading this will bring about an idea. Mine seems to be a winding path of letters and bookshelves… don’t judge. Sometimes general brainstorming helps. Having bullet points on another page (either in a journal or computer document—I do both) of each character, or any form of writing really. I’ve found through trial and error, the more I write the better ideas/concepts form in my mind. And sometimes it includes a five to fifty page draft of an outline. (But that’s a different argument for a later discussion.)
This idea of letters works for me though, and gave me the extra push I need to finish. Every writer has to find their own means to connect with their characters.
So go forth and be creative!
Mine just happens sends a shout-out to old pen pals I had growing up all over the world. So need to bring it back into style! 😉