happened to be driving down the road at the same time as me, and if you
happened to be able to read lips, your attention might have been riveted by a
soliloquy going on in my car. It went something like this:
You tried to kill me, James. You tried to murder me. What
could you possibly say that would make that alright? You held me under the
water until I passed out. In what universe is it alright for a guy to do that
to his girlfriend? You tried to kill
itself, becomes even more disturbing because, as far as you can tell, I’m alone
in the car. No blue tooth, no cell phone–just me. It makes a person
wonder…is James in the car with me? Perhaps duct taped and lying on the floor
in the back?
It’s not what it looks like, Ana. I can explain.
as you could in the other direction, because I am obviously insane, right?
I won’t be caught. For a long time, I thought I
was trying to come up with dialogue, but if that’s the case, I’m coming up with
some pretty lousy dialogue. Every now and then I come up with something that I
want to save, but for the most part, as far as actual writing goes…it stinks.
Instead, I’m trying to feel.
time about what he did, how does she feel? There are lots of possibilities…Sad?
Terrified? Under the right circumstances, she might even be amused. But as I
was driving down the road yesterday, I realized that Ana is furious. She isn’t furious because
that’s what I decided she was going to be. She’s furious because she IS.
the possibilities are endless. Is he derisive? Annoyed that he got caught?
Defensive? It turns out that James is in shock. He can’t believe she found out
about this now, when he thought it was all over.
that I know what I’m really doing, it’s actually kind of cool.
build on each other. When I’m going through these scenes in my head, not only
am I figuring out how to keep my characters true to their personalities, I’m
also creating an emotional pathway, so that when I actually sit down to write
the scene, my emotions go where I want them to, and they go there quickly. It’s
Then, to make myself even more weird, while I’m writing, if
my character bats her eyelashes, I bat mine. If he sighs, leans back and puts
his hands on his forehead, I do that. If my character smells something bad, I
crinkle my nose. I find this really helps me to know if what I’m having my
characters do is believable. For example, despite what paranormal romance authors would have you believe, very few people can actually lift one eyebrow.
|Not every paranormal romance hero can be Jensen Ackles, ladies…|
So, far from being embarassed by my apparent multiple-personality-disorder, I’m kind of proud of it. It reminds me a little of method acting.
Method acting is any of a family of techniques used by actors to create in themselves the thoughts and emotions of their characters, so as to develop lifelike performances. Though not all Method actors use the same approach, the “method” in Method acting usually refers to the practice…in which actors draw upon their own emotions and memories in their portrayals, aided by a set of exercises and practices including sense memory and affective memory.
Which brings me to Anne Hathaway and Fantine, in Les
Miserables. Have you heard the stories about what this woman did to herself to make
her part believable?
performance is unimaginably heartbreaking. On the other hand, personally, I value health
above creative perfection.
our house (well, except One Direction, but that’s just a given). My daughter
and my son both walk around the house singing, “Look down, look down,
You’ll always be a slave/Look down, look down/You’re standing in your
grave.” And my daughter hijacks me at inopportune moments. “Just
watch this one part, Mom…it’s just five minutes.” Let me tell you, what
Anne Hathaway did for Fantine is some of the most memorable acting I’ve ever