I haven’t blogged in almost two weeks. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s that I’ve been distracted. Mostly, I’m having such a good time with Wine Bottles and Broomsticks that every free minute is devoted to getting the next line of that story down.
I promise I’m not going to bang on about my progress and number of words written and stuff. Last night I had a thought about the muse, and I wanted to share. Anyhow, maybe this shouldn’t be important, but for me I think it is. The definition the muse is a femenine figure who inspires an artist. Now, I’m not claiming that I’m an artist, I’m more of a guy who likes to tell stories, and there’s an art in that, I suppose. Anyhow, I like to think about muse in a slighty broader sense, in the sense that I’ve got a character and that character, be it male or female, is inspired by another person. To be clear, of all of the things I need to work on as a writer, character development remains my biggest problem. I’m not talking about just the character arc, I’m talking about just defining a character, anwsering the question: Who is this guy and why do I care?
In one project, the main character has no real definition which does awful things for a story that probably has a good central concept and it’s borderline beyond my skill to fix it. In a few other projects, really these are more sketches and concepts for the most part, but I don’t have a clear picture of characters in my head. None of this is strictly true with Wine Bottles and Broomsticks, the characters are much stronger though I will conceed I’m not doing an expert job at drawing them, but I feel like I’m doing a much better job than usual. It’s growth and I’ll take it, even if it’s pretty incremental.
Last night as I was forcing myself to go around a tiny track, hoping the tight little corners didn’t ruin my feet, I was thinking about my characters in Wine Bottles and Broomsticks. Once again, I realized that the main character needs something more. With this in mind, I turned to the other characters in that story – where did they come from? Well, I’m using muses, a lot. With one character in particular, the muse is an actor I’ve seen in several different TV shows. I haven’t picked a specific role to base my character off of, instead, I invented the character gave him a sketch and a role in the story, then as each scene unfolds, ask myself how would this actor play this character, what sorts of things would he add here?
I took the trick to my main character. What actor would play that role if it were on TV? It came pretty quick actually. I realized I’ve got to go back and make a few changes, but nothing huge. The rest of it is a matter of sitting back and asking: How would this actor play this scene? That said, I this is really a guide to help me get past sticky spots and smooth out dialogue, not a strict set of rules. There’s plenty I’m doing with these characters that is unique to them and the story. At some point these characters will be stong enough in my head that I’ll asking how would this character do it more than how would this actor interpret it? Anyhow, it’s working for me to get me off the ground, and it’s making the project a little more fun to work through.