Do you ever . . . ?


Do you ever act out what your characters are doing or saying just so you can get the scene right on paper?

I have had arguments out loud with myself so I can hear the inflections and get the wording right between feuding characters. I’ve stripped bark and watched the sap flow. I’ve run my hands over buildings, leather bindings, etc. with my eyes closed so I could describe the textures. I’ve fenced. I’ve shot both recurve and compound bows to understand the differences and the way they handle. I talk out whole scenes of dialogue in the shower. I watch my boys rough-house so I can understand fighting in its most simplistic forms, all the while taking note of the way a foot moves, the way a body rolls, the sound a fist makes when it finds its target.

Do you ever research sensations and other details by doing silly things just to find out if your characters ‘got it right?”

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3 thoughts on “Do you ever . . . ?

  1. I do most of this in my own head, but every once in a while I don’t feel completely satisfied with my imagination’s results and I’ll act something out or say a line of dialogue out loud, perhaps even going through a complete exchange of dialogue between characters if that’s what I need to do to get what I need.

    Excellent question!

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  2. Yes, but only certain scenes. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Actually, in all honesty, I don’t. For me, sometimes, I just want to imagine what I don’t know and see if I hit it right. If, however, I need to know what something looks like to describe, then I research for imagery, but very rarely do I get to experience the actual.

    This though is exactly why it’s fun to see how other writers experience life … sucking up every ounce of detail or winging it. The differences, I think, come out in writing style and give us all our uniqueness. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. Actually, I have done some of these things. I don’t have to learn fighting/self-defence through weapons as my characters are werewolves, but I did have a character once who took her frustrations out on a punchbag and I needed to know how that would feel. Luckily for me, my nephew boxed for a while, but when I wanted to know about the different punches and body movements, he’d joined the army. So, I called him up, and he talked me through the entire motion of throwing a straight punch–even made me stand up, put him on loudspeaker, and made me get into position and follow his every instruction. He even gave me a website to go on where he’d learnt a lot from and talked me through questions I had on there. Apparently, he taught me well, because my husband agreed to let me do a ‘test’ hit to his bicep. I held back so I wouldn’t hurt him. He still held his arm and whimpered like a baby. As for conversations, I’m very much a believer of bringing them to life with emotions, facials expressions, small character actions (way too much dialogue is told in static pose), and so I will ‘hear’ the characters worss inside my head and use the facial expressions–frowns/head tilts/eyeborw lifts/lip twitches–that come to my face as a result of getting lost in the zone of putting myself in their mind for a while. As far as stuff like vehicles are concerned? My man’s a mechanic, works in a garage, and gets to drive cars from beaten up bangers to Porsche’s, to 1950 American cars (yes, we’re in the UK, but have a local collector)–so he comes in handy for that. If you want to get it right, make your characters lives/experiences sound authentic and believable, making the effort to expereince as much as is possible is imperative to get it right ๐Ÿ™‚

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