Blog Chain time again! This round's topic was chosen by the ever awesome Cole, who wanted to know:
How do you get inside your character's world?
You know, to be honest, I read this question and my first thought was "I don't know! I just do!"
So I had to take a second and think about what I do when I start writing and building that world. I think at first, I just sort of have an idea of how things are. A character, a storyline pop into my head and they are a part of a world. I explore that world as I write. With each scene, the world gets a little more detailed as my character's go different places and experience different things.
I'll get to spots where I need to research something, details about what could or would be in the world in which my character lives (were there toilets in 1855? Does it snow in Nevada? What would a 200 year old tombstone look like?)
I love researching the details. It makes my worlds come alive and helps me create something real and fantastic.
I do find pictures that are similar to my character's world. I'll often use these as my desktop picture, just to keep me in the right mood. For example, my latest book has a pyramid of rocks as one of the key locations - there is an actual Pyramid Rock in Nevada that I use in my book. I did change things about it...exactly where it is set, etc. But my storyline revolves more around things Egyptian. So I have a picture of the Giza Pyramids as my desktop background....because they get me in the right mind frame.
I will often see locations and think "ooooo that would make such a cool location for a story!" Like the Pyramid Rock. Or the cemetery next door to my house. When I find locations like that, I do try to take or find pictures of them because they often will trigger storylines and scenes. I don't describe them exactly as they are in real life. They are more like the starting point for my storyworld. So it's never exact.
And I never do this for my actual characters. I might see someone in real life that has the same features as one of my characters. And I might see someone that I think might be a cool character in a book. But I don't think I've ever seen someone and thought "Ooo, that is my character!" It's more often going to be something like "Ooo, that guy has the same hair and eyes as Bryant" or something along those lines. I'm not sure why, but I think trying to describe something I'm looking at is harder for me than describing something I'm seeing in my own mind.
As I do revisions and rewrites, my characters and their world become more detailed, more vivid, more real to me. I learn more about them and their surroundings. It's sort of like in the first draft is our first meeting. I had a vague idea of who and where they were, but the more we meet, the more I get to know them and their world. And that helps to make revisions a little more fun and exciting...knowing that I'm going to come across something new and interesting about my storyworld. :)
How about you? How do you get into your characters' worlds? Do you find pictures of people and places or go by that fun movie playing in your head?
If you haven't read it yet, head over to Sandra's blog for her take on the subject and be sure to visit Kat tomorrow to see how she gets inside her characters' worlds :)