In my new position as Director of Non-Conference Events for Pikes Peak Writers, I sailed my maiden voyage this Saturday in terms of putting on an event. All of the feedback I've gotten so far has been positive, so I think it can be considered a success! I do call into question my abilities as an MC, but I'm okay with that.
I've been quite involved in getting this event off the ground and running, and I've slacked in other areas. Namely, my writing. I took care of all the followup work I had last night so I could take Sunday off and just rest. Today...I write.
In the meantime, I write a blog post...
All of the speakers on Saturday were wonderful, but today I'm addressing Robert Liparulo's talk, which was titled "To Know Your Character, BE Your Character."
You've heard of method actors, right? Actors who get deep into their characters in order to be able to play them the best they're able? Well, were you aware there were method writers?
Robert Liparulo is a method writer. He said he spends months on research (the left brained part) before writing a book, but the month before he sits down to write, he becomes his character.
In order to embrace a villain he was working on, he said he theorized that truly bad people don't care how their actions impact others. They don't care if they hurt or inconvenience people. Other people's feelings and opinions really don't exist to them. So he went to a full service gas station (I didn't even know we still had those in this area) and asked for one penny's worth of gas, and for them to check his oil and clean his windshield. The kicker here is that the guy did it!
Then he drove around the block and did it again, just to thoroughly inconvenience the guy.
He did go back later, explain, and give the guy a $20 tip for his trouble, because he's genuinely a nice guy, but he had to fully get himself into the mindset of someone who could care less about what they're doing to someone else. And obviously he can't kill someone or torture them, so he had to find a small way to reach that mindset.
Robert regaled us with tales of the different ways he's gone above and beyond in order to get to know his characters, some shocking, some hysterical, many both.
The point he was making was that by getting to know your character inside and out, you will be able to write that character and always know what they would do in a given situation. You can't get writer's block if you know how your character would react to anything that comes their way. By being in their heads, he can automatically figure what would happen. As he said, you can't back a person into a corner and have them not do something; they will always have a response. You'll know that response if you know your character.
He also pointed out that character bibles aren't necessary if you know your character completely. You don't need to answer all these questions about them to know what to do, because you'll know. You'll just know.
His talk was fantastic. If you ever have the opportunity to meet Robert Liparulo, I recommend it. He didn't speak from a script (either time--this is the second time I've attended an event with him as a speaker), yet he was funny and informative. Just as the MC my mouth went dry and I totally forgot everything I'd thought to say. At least until I warmed up. (No, I didn't just stand up there with my mouth opening and closing, I did say what needed to be said, but I'm pretty sure I sounded like I was about to burst into tears, because my voice got so thin and was shaking, and I kept forgetting to breathe, hahahahahahaha).
Robert will be a speaker at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in April, so if you're going, I assure you his workshops will be entirely worth your time. And his YA series is a great series. I haven't read any of his adult novels yet, but I only just discovered his work last April at Mountain of Authors, put on by Friends of the Pikes Peak Library District, so give me time, people!
Would you consider yourself a method writer? What's the most out there thing you've ever done in the name of research?
May you find your Muse.