Remember in the movie Pinocchio when the Good Fairy floats through the window in her sparkly blue gown with her handy-dandy magic wand in tow? And POOF! She turns Pinocchio into a real boy.
Guess what!? That's us! Writers have a magical power. The power to breathe life into our characters.
My first break-out session at last weeks SCBWI Carolina's conference was with author, Stephanie Green. Her session was titled CPR FOR WRITERS.
I couldn't help but imagine my characters running around as little paper dolls looking up at the first bright light of evening (aka my computer screen) crying out "I want to be a real _______ (girl, boy, bad guy, etc.)" And with my trusty pen I point, aim and POOF! My paper dolls inflate like a balloon, their flesh fill out and voila! The Characters are no longer flat. They have been given life!
So, here's Good Fairy 101. Giving shape and life to your paper dolls:
Stephanie's major point was "motivation with emotion." Motivation is everything and it has to be strong and sincere.
ie: if your character wants to be popular. . . Why does she want to be popular? What is her motivation and the emotion behind the motivation. She has to have a good reason in order to be believable.
Stephanie gave a great writing exercise to help us conjure up emotions from our own childhood so we can use them in our writing. She suggested that we take 20 minutes (or whatever allotted time we choose) and write down memories from our childhood. Dig deep, try to find things forgotten and associate the emotions that go with those memories. Even things that may have seemed insignificant. You might be surprised at the results.
I was surprised to remember Christmas time, my cousin always brought a gift, year after year, with a tag labeled "To: Aunt Cecil"
I never met aunt Cecil. Aunt Cecil never can to our family gathering, yet my cousin always brought a gift. This Aunt Cecil was always a quiet mystery to me. Who was she? Why didn't she come? This wasn't an major part of my life, but it still stirred a great deal of curiosity within me. An air of mystery at Christmas time.
So, if you're ever having writers block, or are just in the mood for a writing exercise, this is a lot of fun!
hmmm. . . I think I need to go shopping for a tiara and a pen that looks like a magic wand. After all, a Good fairy isn't complete w/o such accessories! :0)
I can hear our paper dolls crying out to us now!
Happy Good Fairying!