Monday, October 8, 2007

Context, character ad nauseum, where the hell is this all going??

More work on Dead Gorgeous. I have a contest with Kimberly, whoever finishes their project first wins dinner at the DC RWA conference. (we're gonna be roomies, lol--maybe I should have asked if she can deal with my snoring. Nah. Too soon. She'll find out soon an EARTH-SHAKING way...mwah ha hahhhhh)

I'm way behind. s'okay. I like handicaps. It makes me move faster.

...and thinking of the Seger book, Creating Unforgettable Characters, which is basically just a collection of insights and exercises. Great stuff.

Seger says, "what you need to know about the characters is what the actor needs to play the scene." It's not "what" happened, but how the character "feels" about it. (yeah--I paraphrased, she's long-winded)

for example--not what's your job? But how do you feel about your job? What's your most embarrassing moment? What's the worst thing that ever happened to you?

Because like I told Kaige, viewpoint colors the scene. Connor with his "Stop trying to help me, I don't need your help. I'm a grown up", issues will look at someone trying to order food for him in a different way from Jacey with her, "Food? I like food." attitude. Connor sees attempted control, Jacey sees food. Can she have more?

In some ways, I dunno. I think it just might be the first step on the layering ladder, because here's Connor. You know how he thinks. He's got something to prove, he's got self-hatred, and his body image is skewed. Connor has this image of his body as a prison, and I have to dig a little deeper to figure out what triggered his loathing. Something in his past, (Seger says around eleven, twelve-ish) formed his totally negative opinion.

From the way I drew his sister Corlis, and her memories of that time--that's about the time she met Fallon, and her mom started getting sick. Too many drugs, too many "quarts". Beer is cheap. Quarts are under a dollar. Malt liquor gets you shit-faced. Maybe her liver went, maybe--like I suspect, she's still around. BUT something at that point in time--not here, not now--is the catalyst for Connor's personality. They say all writers have a dose of psychologist in them, and maybe they're right.

Now...about that opportunity food. Hmm. I wonder if that was peculating around in my head, because my whole first chapter involves food.

I have this test. I know it's not-quite legit, but it seems to work. "If you went out to the store and bought a two liter of Coke or Sprite (or whatever), and you were thirsty--would you wait until you got home, put it in the fridge and it got cold before drinking it? Or would you open it up right then and there?"

Tell you what. I've asked lots of people, knowing their childhood background, and each time, the people from the higher socio-economic background will say, "WARM?" and the people who know a drink is a drink, "damn straight, and I'd drink it out of the bottle too."

I think. No. I know, Connor is a warm soda drinker.


Jennifer McKenzie said...

Oh wow. This is going to help me, Cup. I've been struggling a bit with my characters. They're just too.....settled. This will help me shake 'em up.
Mmmm I'm going to have to think about that question. My instinct is to say that I like my soda cold, but I'd drink it warm if I was really thirsty.
It's an interesting question.

Kaige said...

What about those of us who prefer warm soda, Cup? I hate when it's too cold and it cuts your throat. But I guess that says something about me too. ;)

BTW, I'm really enjoying the Dunne book. Lots to think about, but it's all good. Thanks for the recommendation!

jodi said...

Ahh--I think it depends on where you are in your life. I would definitely, right now, right here--drink warm soda, because yeah--I've been poor. Back when I first got married, you can bet I'd have given you the "huh? warm soda" look.

Eww, Kaige. You prefer warm soda? I like it ice cold, but if it were lying around in the sun, I'd still drink it, 'cause a warm pepsi max is a pepsi max, and a warm diet coke is just nasty.

Glad you like the book.:)