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A discussion to stoke your writing fire.
Posted: 6/11/2010 2:52 PM PDT
Maybe the reason she sounds forced and flat is because that's how she wants others to view her. I know, technically, the characters don't exist, yada yada yada, but sometimes, most times, they do. Somewhere. And yours obviously is refusing to let you write her. she let you get to know her, but it seems as if she doesn't want anyone else to get to know her. It seems like it's in her character to respond to things as flatly as she can, to...get out of the situation. Maybe...ask her to help you write her properly. Or ask her to drop her front and be herself.
Well good luck and Write on!
Posted: 5/21/2010 2:19 AM PDT
I have to say, i think MTGradwell hit the clown on the nose with this one. It sounds like your character took a life of her own and decided to clam up.
Its kind of like my character Silva in my current book. She's telling me the story (its in first pov, so she's technically telling the story herself, I'm just there to write it down), and unfortunately, I get the feeling she's lying about some parts. Absolutely lying to me! I'm the darned writer and she's LYING to me!
....okay, i'm going to stop sounding insane for a moment. Like I said, Gradwell seemed to have a good idea. Have your own conversation with your character, away from the story.
Truthfuly, if your character really has taken on a life of her own, I think your story is about to change. Drastically. but that's normally a good thing,
Much love and zombie brains~
Posted: 5/16/2010 7:00 PM PDT
I'm not sure if this is really going to help, but a little something that has always assisted me is finding out how -I- would react. Lie down in bed or wherever and just think. Put yourself into a situation like that and -really- find out how you would react. Usually, it ends up being something that is against your normal views or your original thoughts about what you would do, but it lets you learn more about yourself--as well as your character. Once you discover yourself, compare your character's personality to that, and make you her. Of course, the reactions will be -much- different.
For me, it's a great way to unlock the way into your character's mind. Also, instead of thinking them as something you created, it's better to think of them as a person in another world you're writing about. If you can make them seem more realistic, visualizing their reactions will be hundreds of times easier. You know what visual practice is, right? You review a routine/game in your head as many times as you have to until you know exactly how your body will move in its condition, and you change your body to fit the situation (dietting, excersizing, studying--whatever pertains to it best--etc., etc.) until you can see yourself doing the routine perfectly in your condition. This is much like creating a realistic character. Visualize the stiff character you have now in those situations, change her up, and keep comparing until she fits smoothly.
I hope that helped! I'm sorry if it's a lil' confusing... ^^'
Posted: 5/10/2010 8:29 PM PDT
Maggie_D, that's...and interesting take.
Funny, I can't imagine anyone else in the role, and it would be wierd having someone else as the MC. The story is primarily about Kattherine, and everything in my head about the story pertains to her journey, her trials, her transformations as a character. When I try to imagine doing the same story I am trying to tell, but focusing on another character other than her, I am a complete blank. Right now, it's just her dialogue and actions that is hard. They just keep coming out forced or inconsistant. Trying to make the story about someone else makes me a complete blank.
Wonder what that means? I would think that perhaps the story I am trying to tell isn't the one I am supposed to be telling, but I can't visualize it any other way. Dunno, maybe I'm not looking at this right....
Thanks for your insights.
Posted: 4/29/2010 7:00 PM PDT
She's not really your main character. Take her completely out of the equation and try writing the scene. If a new character comes along, with natural dialogue, THAT's who should your primary.
I've had this happen several times and each time, I've discovered that the story is not about the character I'm trying to push into place.
Give it a shot. Good luck.
Posted: 4/28/2010 11:42 PM PDT
Wow, that was a fantastic post MTGradwell! LOL. Great inpersonation. Perhaps the scary thing is how much it sounds like her. Katherine is very - strict about what she likes and does not like, and she has a major attitude. I think I know her inside and out, but it just isn't coming out right on paper. She's just hard to get across. I said I had trouble getting into her head, but I think it's more getting what is in her head across that is the problem.
I'll figure it out eventually. Thanks for the reply, and the support.
Posted: 4/28/2010 5:16 PM PDT
Try confronting her directly about it. You might get something like the following:
"Why won't you open up?"
"Did you ask me to?"
"No, not exactly, but I did all the things that usually work. Character sheets, role-playing, daydreaming...".
"The character sheets - what did you put in them? And how did you know if it was right?"
"As for what I put in them - not a lot actually, I was hoping that stuff would come to mind but it didn't - and what did come didn't seem right. That's the problem".
"How could you possibly know what I'm like if you don't ask?"
"Like I said, there was role-playing and daydreaming".
"Role playing. Ha! You trying to imagine what you'd do if you were like me. But you're not like me, are you? You wouldn't catch me role-playing, or daydreaming. I've got better things to do. Look, if you wanted to buy a present for someone, and you wanted to be sure it was something they'd like, would you try to get into their mind by role-playing and daydreaming? Why not just ask them what they like? Which approach do you think is most likely to work?"
"Asking, I suppose. But that might spoil the surprise. I might want the present to be a surprise."
"Well I'll tell you for free about something I *don't* like. I don't like surprises. And there's something else. I just glanced up above, and I noticed you say that my dialogue comes off forced and my reactions are muddled and inconsistent. Do I look muddled and inconsistent to you? Well, DO I? The other thing I don't like, apart from surprises, is when someone else is muddled and inconsistent and then they try to pin the blame on me, an innocent bystander. ..."
Now, the problem is to get her to shut up. Good luck with that! :-)
Posted: 4/25/2010 5:11 AM PDT
I need help, here, guys. I have no idea why, but I just can't get into her head.
Charcterization has NEVER been a problem for me. But I am working on a new book and for some reason, the main character will not open up! I've tried everything. All the tried and true methods to help with chacter building. Character sheets, rollplaying, daydreaming, nothing works. I have tons of scenes in my head and they look great, but I can never figure out her reactions to things so she comes off flat. I even tried just writing the story without worrrying about whether her actions or dialogue fit, hoping that as I got into the story further, she would start to open up. Nope. Her dialogue comes off forced and her reactions are either muddled and inconsistant, or there just isn't enough of them.
I can't understand it.