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YOU are a character

I forgot to blog last week and I apologize. Two weeks ago, I told you to sit down and have coffee with your main character and really get to know them. I was recently asked, "But if I'm writing my memoir, don't I know me?" Well, yes and no. You know what you've been through and you if it was a trauma, you know what you did to survive. I'm consulting my years of working in the mental health field here. The trauma was in the past, say when you were 6, and now is the opportunity to sit down with that 6-year-old and talk to her, listen to her and comfort her. Now you have your character, doing exactly the same thing if your character was fiction. Each day we are one more day removed from our trauma recalling the incident but forgetting the little person who experienced it (presuming that is a part of your memoir).

In my years of counseling, I gave this exercise to women who have suffered sexual abuse and/or rape. They got to know the girl who went through the trauma and in doing so, began to heal. Even if you aren't writing a memoir, I suggest trying it anyway. You never know, maybe that character will end up in a story somewhere down the line. And always, always, always take notes, you may remember the conversation, but you will lose the raw emotion.

Every main character has raw emotion that they feel vulnerable sharing. It's you job to pull that out of them. Start out gently asking questions. Ask open ended questions as you will not get what you need with yes/no questions. If you need to, change the subject and ask comfortable questions like a favorite memory, things they do for fun, tv shows or songs they like. When they feel comfortable with you, they were start talking about their raw emotion. You job as a writer is to make your character 3D.

If you have a question about what I wrote or haven't wrote about, feel free to contact me.

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