Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Guest Post from B. Lynn Goodwin: Knowing Your Character Inside and Out

Today I'm happy to host a guest post from author B. Lynn Goodwin, author of Talent, as part of her WOW! Women on Writing blog tour. I can't wait to try out the exercise below with some of my own characters. Enjoy!

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What does your character sound like? How does your character move? You may know in your head, but can you put it into practice? It’s easier than you think if you use the technique below, which I borrowed and adapted from an acting book I taught out of. I’ve tried this with high school and college actors. For that matter Mrs. G uses it during a rehearsal in my coming of age novel, TALENT.

I’ve also used this with adult actors and with writers. If possible, find a trusted friend or writing partner to give you these directions so you can concentrate on becoming your character. Ask your friend to pause at the end of each line.


If that is not possible, make a tape of the following.

DIRECTIONS: Find a place where you are free to move around.

Stretch out for a minute.

Then begin walking around. Keep walking unless you are asked to sit. Try to feel your character taking over each part of your body.

Let him fill your eyes, your nose, your mouth, your cheeks, your ears, and your scalp—whatever that means. Begin seeing your surroundings as your character.

Let your character fill your neck, and your shoulders, and your spine.

Let her fill your chest, and your stomach, and your abdomen.

Breathe deeply.

Let him fill your upper arms, and your lower arms, and your hands, and your fingers and your fingertips—whatever that means.

Let your character fill your private parts and your upper legs, and your lower legs, and your knees and your ankles, and your feet.

Sit down as your character.

Look around as your character.

Stand as your character, begin walking as her and thinking as her.

SPEAKING AS YOUR CHARACTER, FINISH EACH SENTENCE. (If you are doing this with a group speak in your head only.

OR

Sit down at your computer as your main character and complete each of the 20 sentence starts, using your character’s favorite font and color.]

I am happiest when…

I daydream about…

My mind…

If I had my way…

I don’t understand why…

What I could do is…

Being scared makes me…

Sometimes I think that I…

I have a feeling that part of me…

A person’s family…

No one could help so…

If I were in charge…

I get angry when…

People perceive me as…

I hate…

People wouldn’t like it if…

I am afraid I…

I know…

I really am…

A person can’t be happy unless…

Speaking or writing in your character’s voice, tell the world your desires and your message. What do you want to do? What do you want to change? What is in your way?

When you are done, record what you learned about your character, or let your character do it for himself.

Questions? Go to blynngoodwin.com, click on the contact button, and ask them. I’ll be delighted to answer.

Thank you for trying this technique. Let me know how you do.
TALENT is available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Talent-B-Lynn-Goodwin/.

B. Lynn Goodwin is the owner of Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com, and the author of both You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers (Tate Publishing), and TALENT (Eternal Press).  Her blog is at http://blynngoodwin.com. Goodwin’s stories and articles have been published in Voices of Caregivers; Hip Mama; Small Press Review; Dramatics Magazine; The Sun; Good Housekeeping.com and many other venues. She is currently working on a memoir about getting married for the first time at age 62.


About Talent:
Fifteen-and-half-year-old Sandee Mason wants to find her talent, get her driver's license, and stop living in the shadow of her big brother, Bri, who disappeared while serving in Afghanistan.
She discovers that real life doesn’t have a script as she deals with loss, the manipulation of Bri’s best friend, her burning ambition to find her talent and figure out what happened to Bri, and unexpected bits of joy that pop up when she least expects them.

1 comment:

Karen lee Hallam said...

This is great! It's like an actor's exercise, which I find not too far removed from writing. Where the author can play every character, including a tree if she likes. :)