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Inside My Stormy Brain

This post was originally written for, but I thought I would post it here as well.SONY DSC

I think best when writing. This is something that has been true for as long as I can remember. If I have a problem, a decision, or something that’s just bothering me, the best way for me to work it out is writing. So it’s really no wonder that when I want to get ideas flowing for a story—whether it’s the whole story, or just one scene—I have to sit down and write it out. I write down everything that comes to mind. And if two seconds later I realize that idea is ridiculous, I don’t erase it, I just write, “that wouldn’t work because…;” “That would be too cheesy;” “That wouldn’t fit her character;” “He’s smarter than that,” etc…

I ask A LOT of questions in my brain storming. When trying to get to know Lorraina better, I had this conversation with myself:

     Why is Lorraina the way she is? What is her problem? What does she want?

     Love, power, respect, people to like her/look up to her, parents’ approval, to know who she is?

     Does she like her sisters? Envy them? Disapprove of them? 

All of those questions help me to better understand my characters, to sift through possible motivations. It also gives me a chance to ask a lot of the questions that readers might have, and if I already know the answers, they will be included as a natural part of the story telling.

I also do little snippets of conversation when they come to mind. I usually won’t know when or where the conversation will take place, but dialogue helps me to get an idea of whether or not my characters’ chemistry will work, and whether or not the conflict that I have in mind will work. This is part of my initial brain storm for my second book:

In public he is confident, almost arrogant; in private he’s rather withdrawn, much less comfortable in a one-on-one setting.

     She’s quiet in social settings. She always looks the part, but says very little. She becomes much more animated in private. She’s also very honest, quite blunt.

     “It’s like you’re two different people.”

     “I? This coming from the girl who says nothing when people can hear you and then spouts off anything that comes to mind when in private.”

     “I’m trying to understand you.”

     “What is there to understand?”


Now, that characterization didn’t work out; none of those ideas ended up being part of the story. But it’s important for me to not just assign personality traits for my characters, but to try to get to know them and listen to what they have to say.

So, there you have it. A little insight into how I wrangle my thoughts into something that makes sense.

Published inWriting Process

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