Tips for Making Your Characters Talk
Ever been frustrated by a character/s who wants to stay tight-lipped? I have. Many times. I’ve also been bombarded by loose-lipped characters I’m not supposed to be talking to as they are not on deadline with me. Equally frustrating (and thrilling). But when I need to focus on the WIP at present, I use 3 tips to pry my characters open and release a flood of great scenes. I hope they’ll work for you too. (Prayer goes without saying so that one isn’t included!)
Create a playlist
Some writers don’t listen to music while they write (I do), but you don’t have to in order for characters to share and scenes to flood your imagination. Prior to writing, I go into Spotify and find a few songs that have “all the feels” then I close my eyes and listen. Sometimes I stretch out on my bed and sometimes I go for a walk with ear buds in, and I let my mind wander. It truly doesn’t take long before a kernel of dialogue or a snippet of a scene pops into my head and runs wild, and I let it.
Another great tool is Pandora. My favorite station is Jon McLaughlin. He’s my favorite for all those emotional feels and the songs that play on his radio station are similar. When I find one that really sings to me, I add it to my Spotify playlist.
One last thing, if I hear a song that plays during an emotional or romantic moment on TV, I Google the TV show, the episode, and find that song—then I add it to my playlist.
Read a writing craft book
Craft books are helpful for learning to write, revise, and structure a book. But I like to read them when I’m stumped as well. It never fails that as I’m revisiting a book, scenes and ideas about my current WIP always jump out. I keep a set of note cards by me to write down everything that comes to me. My favorite craft book is Make a Scene by Jordan E. Rosenfeld. There are so many great books out there, but this one clicks with me. And I go back to it with about every manuscript I write.
Vox a friend
Have you heard of the Voxer app? It’s my fave. For someone who doesn’t care for phone calls but enjoys talking to friends when it’s convenient (is that bad?) this app is genius. It works like a walkie talkie but you can use it to text, send photos, or gifs. You can listen in real time or check it when you have a minute. When children interrupt, you can easily stop voxing or put your friend’s vox on pause to do what you need to. I brainstorm often this way. And a bonus, I can go back and listen to our conversation whenever I want. Sometimes, you just need to verbally chat about the characters for them to open up and give you some great insight. Plus, it’s just fun! Hey if you download this FREE app, find me! Let’s chat…you know, when it’s convenient for us! *wink wink*
So tell me, what tips work for you? Have you tried the three above?
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Jessica R. Patch lives in the mid-south where she pens inspirational contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels. Her passion to see women’s faith grow into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ compels her to draw out biblical truths through flawed but redeemable characters in fiction. She’s the author of the Seasons of Hope series, several Love Inspired Suspense novels, including Fatal Reunion, Protective Duty, and Concealed Identity, and a contributing author on Everyday with Jesus, a devotional releasing in April 2017 from Guideposts. She enjoys laughing with her husband who is an ordained minister, bingeing on Netflix with her teenage daughter, and winning at UNO with her son. You can connect with Jessica at her website: www.jessicarpatch.com