Thursday, 28 January 2010

Living With Characters

(Note - I am not schziophrenic - Yes you are! Blah blah blah!)

Ever feel you live with your characters?

I remember back in my early days of writing screenplays, I had a tough scene to crack. A love scene, no, scratch that, a sex scene - and for some bizarre reason, I couldn't write it.

I don't know why but for some reason, whatever I wrote just sounded forced and fake. I found a quick and enjoyable way through it.

I took my characters to the pub and got them drunk.

Now understand that I didn't write a drinking scene into the script. More alarmingly, I gathered up my notebooks, went to the pub by myself during the day, arranged three empty chairs around me and then I got drunk, thus inebriating my characters, and you know what? It seemed to work. My characters got hot and heavy and the next day, I found myself blushing at what they had got up to.

I was proud. Until I realised that having the male lead actually fail to close the deal was more in line with the story and thus I had to delete the entire scene, but an important thought had occurred with this exercise.

Is living with your characters a good idea?

For actors, it's called method, when you simply never break character. For us writers, it's slightly more complicated. We are everyone in the story. Effectively, we are God, without the reluctance to get involved.

So how involved SHOULD we get?

The day had loosened my writing insecurities (if you don't drink, ignore this entire post) and made me feel that not only could my characters surprise me but I could sit with them at the same time, be with them and enjoy their company. Believe me, it felt like a guilty pleasure.

Quentin Tarantino said 'I didn't know Mr Blonde had a razor in his boot until he pulled it.'

This sounds crazy, but to me it made some sort of logistical sense.

I love that, when characters are capable of making you go 'whoa, where did that come from?' It excites and hopefully, it has the capacity to excite your readers. I've finished scripts and missed the characters! Actually missed them!

So, is 'living with your characters' a good idea?

I'd like to think so, then again, if you write disturbingly freaky shit, either get involved or call the police...


  1. Hello, I think I have a really good idea for a story, but I'm not good at writing. I am looking for someone to write it for me, interested ?