A to Z Challenge: M is for Movement

img_6736When I write, I try to view the scene in my head as if it’s a movie. My first drafts tend to be spare, almost like scripts. Not in terms of format, but if there are scenes with multiple characters in them I focus on dialogue and blocking, or how the characters move around the space/stage.

How characters move is something I need to figure out in order to write them well. I ran into this problem when I was writing the first draft of H&S, a paranormal romance with a secret baby plot. I couldn’t get the hero to show up right on the page.

Part of it was that I hadn’t yet determined his appearance. I combed through photos of hot male celebrities and settled on one, but he wasn’t right. It became even harder to imagine this character in the scenes. Then, while watching Dancing With the Stars, I had epiphany. Ky was one of the pro dancers!

Once I had someone in mind for Ky, everything clicked. I was able to not just imagine Ky in the scene, but I knew how he moved, what his mannerisms were, and I found the missing piece – that cocky swagger. Ky carries an immense amount of guilt and doubts his abilities as a leader, but underneath all of that, he’s got a good sense of humor and how-you-doin’ swagger. While Ky is definitely not based on this dancer (since I wrote most of that draft before having this epiphany), having a strong sense of how the character carried himself and moved through space made the writing that much easier.

How do you determine how a character moves through space?

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3 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge: M is for Movement

  1. Thank you for sharing.

    I too visualise my stories like they are movies. It helps me describe all aspects of my characters and my world. It takes a few drafts but gradually I can feel the characters becoming more alive on the pages. I do cherish those moments.

    Good luck with the rest of the A-Z Challenge.

    http://blog.elenchera.com

  2. That’s pretty incredible!

    As of now, I picture the basics of a character in my head. I’ll look through pictures of people similar and see if that’s what really sticks out to me. I’ll change from there.

    For my book Playing House, I based the characters off people in my own life, well, except for the main male character. He’s the one I’ve never met. When making the teasers for promos, I found pictures of people that nailed every single one of the characters…except Caleb, my main male. I didn’t have a tight enough grasp on his face until it was too late. I still haven’t “found” him either. But I know going forward, that a good visual is so helpful in bringing a character to life 🙂

    Great post!

  3. Hello Alexis,
    I agree. Before creating a character I feel I need to understand his or her motivations as well as their mannerisms. So much of how we communicate in real life, and intuit another person’s state of mind, is to be able to quickly assess nonverbal cues. If a reader knows a character will often do something automatic, like twisting a piece of hair around her finger when she is feeling contemplative, much may be communicated about a character, or a particular scene, without a lot of exposition.

    A-Z Let Us Talk Of Many Things ( interviews with some very interesting fictional characters!)

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