How do you create characters whose experiences have nothing to do with your own? Imagination? Intuition? Research? A big question! An intrepid group of writers tackled it in a recent freewheeling Craft Chat hosted by the Write Group. A few highlights:
Elle: “I have to listen and be responsive to my imagination—open that creative vein. I don’t know the characters till I write. Words come as I write the characters: What are their vulnerabilities? What’s the field—what’s happening around them?”
reg: “Embellish—take an actual incident and add onto the story….As a writer, you have to be confident about what you’re writing. The easy way to develop confidence is to add true incidents into the story.”
Elle: “You can weave truth into a story so it’s relatable and real.”
Storyteller: “Words were streaming through my head like I was just transcribing, surfing a wave of energy.”
Elaine: “The characters present themselves. Which part of the brain is producing them and giving them life? I have no idea.
reg: “Reality and fiction—those walls have long ago collapsed. The world we live in is fake. Getting as close to the truth as possible—that’s what we do as artists.”
Martha: “When I think of characters, listening leads to them. One way to make a character interesting is to give them a little tic.”
Jill: “Art is something you’ve never seen before.”
Tiavanna: “Is it passed down? I don’t know where this creativity comes from.”
Elle: “People who become artists are chosen. We’re all each other.”
reg: “The world is a mess and our job is to create beauty and truth. Whatever character or story you’re creating has to be more beautiful than real life.”
Wonderful, inspiring words! Conjuring characters, real or imagined, is tons of fun. Let’s enjoy the ride as we all write on!
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