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!