Many people have been asking me what Deep Characterization is. I know what it is to me, but I wanted to share some of Janet Lee Carey’s thoughts on her Deep Characterization practice, which she’ll unpack even more at the Full-Bodied Novel retreat in July. Janet has just returned from a meditation retreat in Hawaii.
Katherine: Welcome back, you lucky girl! How are you doing?
Janet: Today I woke up groggy.
» Read more about: An Interview with Janet Lee Carey on Deep Characterization »
Deep Characterization Exercise #1 Being Two Places at Once
The purple mass looked for a moment like a plump of organ pipes, then like a stack of rolls of cloth set up on end, then like a forest of gigantic umbrellas blown inside out. It was in faint motion. Suddenly his eyes mastered the object. The purple stuff was vegetation: more precisely, it was vegetables, vegetables about twice the height of English elms, but apparently soft and flimsy.
» Read more about: The Writer as Actor: On Location »
My mom has always been all about stories. When I was little, she read and read to me: Winnie the Pooh, Ramona the Pest, the Book House books (which, heartbreakingly, were lost in a move.) She was, and is a teacher, and she made sure I became a reader.
But there was another gift she gave: she showed me that stories come from ordinary people–and that it is our birthright to create them.
» Read more about: Mom’s Gift »
Sometimes it’s the little things…
Writing antagonists can be almost too much fun. Of course, we don’t want to make the ALL bad. We need to show them as balanced human beings. But when you first introduce an unpleasant character, how do you show he’s unpleasant?
I thought we’d take a little stroll through The Summer of No Regrets, so you could meet a favorite nasty character of mine,
» Read more about: That Character You Love to Hate »
“I have never told you.” Five words that can deepen your characters, add page-turning plot elements, and shed light on motivation.
When I talk to my characters (and yes, I do this frequently–it’s a relationship that must be maintained), I’m gratified when they talk back. And they will, if you know what to ask them.
- Go to a quiet place where you can concentrate.
» Read more about: I have never told you »
Perfectionism is a thief of time. I used to be plagued by this wily thief—I’d let it into my mind and give it full access. There it would scold and prod and criticize. And I would go slower and slower as my muse slogged toward mirages of excellence. After all, isn’t excellence what we are after?
It took me a long time to learn that excellence and perfection are not the same thing.
» Read more about: Go Where the Longing Is »
With the Full-Bodied Novelist Retreat coming up this weekend, I’ve been playing the violin again. There is a connection, so stay with me here.
I usually let months go by without my music. I play only to prepare for performance, thinking I need an “excuse” to play. But lately I have played for the sheer joy of playing with no audience but the Universe. I work on a piece that is hard for me,
» Read more about: The Violin Diet »
As a writer you know you must allow your characters to live through you as they unfold on the page. But what if the character feels unlike you? A character you can’t relate to is hard to, well, relate. But you WANT characters who are different from you–whether they are sympathetic, antagonistic, or simply “other” because they are outside of your community or life experience.
When you find the connection point with such a character you expand your empathy,
» Read more about: When It’s Hard to Relate »
I lost my father in July. Then in August, my husband underwent a high-risk surgery. And then last week, I had surgery to determine whether I have cancer. (It looks like I do not.) Now everything that has always felt certain is entirely up for grabs. We have been so well-loved and supported by friends and family that I am not frantic or filled with dread. In fact, the time feels distilled.
» Read more about: Wordless Times »
Fill Your Wednesdays with Writing!
Bellevue College, North Campus, Redmond, WA
*These classes are for adults; high school students may enroll only with instructor permission.
Writing the Hidden Story
9/23/2015 – 11/25/2015, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Your characters live and breathe because of a hidden story—one you must go deep within to find. A work of fiction that is disconnected from YOU is nothing more than a clever word exercise.
» Read more about: Fall Writing Classes »