Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Blog Chain - Walking in My Character's Shoes

To all of my blog buddies out there, I'm sorry I haven't posted much lately. If not for blog chain, I'd be floating in a sea of characters, with a filthy house and unfed family wondering where the months have gone. Which is why Cole's question this round is so appropriate:

How do you get inside your character's world?

I'm one of those types of people who can get so caught up in a day-dream that I'm pulling into my driveway before I've even realized I'd left the grocery store. Visualization isn't hard for me. When I'm writing, I tend to walk through every scene, taking on the character's speech and mannerisms in my imagination, walking in his or her shoes. Even throughout my day, I find myself wondering, "What would this character do right now in my situation? What would she say?" It helps me write believable dialog and reactions.

As far as my character's physical world... I've tried to write about places I haven't seen and it didn't come off as believable. So I tend to stick to locations close to home, cities I've visited, even the town I live in. But like Cole stated in her post, sometimes I need a little help. Even though I've been to Seattle, I don't know it like the back of my hand--and my character does. So I use Google Maps a lot, you can actually position the camera view right on the street. It's like you're standing right in the middle of a still-frame. I talk to people who are more familiar with the night-life or the local nuances. I pull up stock photos and stare, and stare, and stare.

For me, the beauty of writing (and reading for that matter) is the escapism. The exploration of taboos, experiences, emotions and lives so unlike the person I really am. Check out Kate's post before mine and Sandra's tomorrow to find out how they build their wonderful worlds!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Blog Chain - Oh The Mistakes I've Made!

Between reading, writing, revising, critting, the stomach flu, and ice fishing (YES. Seriously. Ice Fishing! My husband is a lucky man!), another blog chain has come around. This round Rebecca goes all deep and thoughtful on us, asking:

What is the best mistake you've made so far in your journey as a writer? How has that mistake helped you grow :)?

I think I may have made every single mistake an emerging writer can make. Funny story, Tuesday night I actually received a rejection on a query I sent out two years ago. Yep. Your eyes aren't playing tricks on you. Two years. It was one of the first queries I'd ever sent out and man, it stunk to high heaven! Rotten. Honestly, I'm amazed it even garnered a response.

But if not for making the mistake of writing a truly horrible query, I would have never learned how to write a good one. How do I know? I've received a lot more agent love than I had in the past.

Another newbie mistake I'm glad I made was refusing to network. I dug my heels in and turned my back on the writing community. But when I finally came out of my shell, and overcame my shyness, I realized that a book isn't finished until it's critiqued. A lot. Period.

However, thanks to my mistake, I realized there was no way to navigate these waters on my own. I jumped in head first and made some great friends. Just look at my blog chain peeps. There are some kick ass writers here! ;)

And now, I'm going to break a taboo and share the biggest mistake I'm glad I made. I didn't let "No thanks" be the end of it. I know that we're told not to re-approach an agent after they've given us a rejection. I crossed the line and queried again and it's worked in my favor more than once.

Now don't go crazy... I didn't become an agent stalker. I didn't call their offices begging them to take a second look. I didn't re-query the day after the rejection. I took their words to heart. After all, they'd turned me down for a reason. I revised the manuscript and re-wrote my query and/or synopsis. I made BIG changes. Then, I re-approached the agent in a very professional manner. I've had partials and fulls requested this way. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears. But it paid off.

Making mistakes is how we learn and grow and I'm grateful for every single one. Check out Kate's post before mine, and Sandra's tomorrow to find out what mistakes they're glad they made!