Getting to Know You
Germany is gearing up for the time of year when everyone dresses up in costume and celebrates big time: Karneval!!
Personally, I don’t understand the concept of this bizarre tradition but as I looked in the numerous shop windows this weekend, outrageously decorated with streamers, dummies donning daring designs and balloon displays that would make Walt Disney brim with pride, something struck me (no, not Kim Cattrall coming to life). I had a ‘Nicola moment’ and burst into a rendition of ‘Getting to Know You’ from the King and I: I do love a good musical. My husband turned a darker shade of red and briskly walked away.
I am currently trying to plan the second of my Crime/Thriller series and have been struggling, or trying too hard, to find the flow. Seeing the mannequins and their costumes reminded me to step into my characters shoes and see where they wanted to lead me, rather than the other way round. I had read that in Stephen King’s On Writing but needed a reminder.
First, I wanted to get to know them better. We always learn more about our own character when we have to deal with situations outside of the norm and so I dragged my characters around with me for the week. I plunged them, tags, traits and all, into situations out of the comfort of their everyday roles, observed how they reacted and considered what actions could possibly ensue. My detective spent the day in the classroom with my Year 9 students, my wealthy academic shovelled snow from my driveway and the Chief Superintendent served tea and cakes at a local charity event. It was so much fun and I learned a lot of new things about my characters, which will definitely aid the novel writing process.
I would be interested to know what escapades your characters get up to or what techniques you use to develop them.