Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tip of the week: challenge yourself

By that I mean, try to improve by writing something outside your genre, experiment with point of view, use different ways to describe things, invent unconventional characters, in short: step out of your comfort zone.
I had a chat with my friend when she was in London to visit me and we spoke about character building, the way they're thinking, etc. She said she was mainly amazed on how I created the inner world of my characters and asked me how I did it, if it took me ages to build them for each character or if it came to me naturally.

At first I paused, thinking about the 'how', wondering if I purposefully build the world in their heads or not, then came to the conclusion that I don't. My characters are all very different, at least in my latest work in progress, they are distinct in looks, the way they act and react to each other. The biggest challenge is to write a complex male character, which my friend thought I did very well. When handling various characters I turn into a woman with multiple personality disorder, I slip into the roles of each of them and head hop, having discussions with myself. And believe it or not, it's rather much fun. In general, I observe people closely, the way they mimic, look at each other, touch each other. It probably helps a lot to have good male friends and I'm not afraid to ask them openly, be it about how they think, what they think, how they feel, what goes on in their heads when having sex, etc. And luckily, they give me honest answers, even though after being a little startled at first.

Since I started writing, I continuously changed the genre and topics, in short stories as well as novels, and improved my style. It was a little weird at first, but I adapted relatively soon to the new challenge.
Take the Thriller and the torture scenes, for instance. I never thought that writing graphic scene of violence can be so much fun or even the omniscient point of view, which I hated with a passion beforehand. Doing something new has taught me I can do more than comedy and romance and that I actually enjoy it. So if you are stuck with a work in progress, why not try something completely different? I can only encourage you, even if it's only a flash fiction piece.

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