Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Blog Chain - Different Characters And Exercises
Before I launch into the blog chain question, I want to make sure everyone knows about the contest in progress. If you haven't stopped by this post, you need to. The contest is fun and the prizes are awesome (care of Elana Johnson, writer extraordinaire). Get your butt over there and enter today. I'll wait.
Okay, now that the housekeeping is out of the way, let's get to it. The amazing and talented Sandra has started off this round with two questions. She gave the option to answer one or the other, but I'll do em both. Sandra asks:
Have you ever created a character different from yourself in some significant way, such as (but not limited to) different gender, race, ethnic group, religion, or sexual orientation? If so, what, if any, research did you do to portray these differences? Was this character a main character, secondary character, or walk-on? Did these differences have an impact on the story?
Have you ever written writing exercises? If so, did you find the experience useful? What type of writing exercises were they, and did you do them on your own or as part of a writing class or workshop?
My first attempt at a novel (before I really knew anything at all) had a young Hispanic woman as one of the main characters. Other than being married to a wonderful Hispanic woman who is eternally young (that's right baby, I won't put your age in here. You're 29 and holding, right?), I had no background to pull from. This woman is also homeless, which is another aspect of life I thankfully have not had to deal with. Did I panic? I think not.
I searched around and was able to interview a woman who was working at a place that assists homeless women. She was a young Hispanic woman who had been homeless herself at one point. I wish I could relate her story to the world because it was so amazing. I will say however, that she had a profound effect on how I viewed my main character from that point on. Although I have put the story on hold for now, I will go back to it someday when my writing is significantly improved.
As for the second question, I am currently embroiled in a short story writing workshop. Although we're only a few classes in, we've already been doing some really cool exercises. The first one involved writing an entire story in only 550 words. That was pure torture for me. I guess I'm a masochist though; I didn't quit the class and I can actually say I'm glad I worked through the exercise.
We've also done writing-on-demand, where the teacher gives us a sentence and tell us to go from there. We're dealing with flash fiction currently, something I've never worked on before. Oh, and of course we're writing our own short story, to be workshopped by the group. Did I mention that I get the honor of turning mine in first tomorrow? Can you say stressed out? I'm more than a little nervous.
In any event, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Michelle Hickman is following me tomorrow, so make sure you stop by and read what she has to say.