Monday, March 22, 2010

Getting Your MC/Narrator to TALK.

So, over the past few days I took a course to get my scooter/motorcycle license,got hit by a motorcycle, and then proceeded to crash my own scooter during a drill on a very, very rainy Sunday. Front wheel locked and went straight over the handle bars.

I also started writing a new book (yay, new book, but won't be saying word 1 about WHAT it is).

The thing about a new book is it means a new MC, and in the case of a first person narration, a new VOICE.

I have a few tactics for starting books, one of my favorite being to create a list of shots, essentially vivid still frames from the book. But no matter how much info I know about plot, or how many vivid moments I've got jotted down, I can't really get into a rhythm until my MC decides to TALK, to tell me the story in his/her own words. Once that happens, the book finally begins.

THANKFULLY, my new MC took pity on me.

If your MC won't start chatting, here are two things that work for me:

-Think about how your MC would describe the other characters in the book. This tells you about their voice, but also about relationships and dynamics and other things that tend to come in handy when building a story.

-Sometimes you can "interview" your MC, or any character in your book, but I prefer to take a walk with mine. As I walk and let my eyes wander onto different things, paying attention to the way thoughts trickle in, that is when I start to make progress. I start to think of where my MC's mind goes when they wander. And the seemingly innocuous thoughts are often very telling. I recommend not confining your MC to a list of questions, but letting them ramble.

I'm sure there are many more ways, but these are the two that seem to work for me. Do you have any techniques?


  1. Wow, motorcycles? You are fearless!

    I usually wait until my character starts speaking to me but if I'm having difficulty, I like to make a little list of their history, character flaws, nervous tics, etc.

  2. Loved this post, Victoria! I'm amazed at what writing and characterization are through your eyes.

    Also, can't wait to read your book!!!

  3. Nadine- Haha well *I* was on a scooter, but the class had both :p And technically, I am now licensed to drive both!

    Amparo- So glad you liked it! My mind is kind of an odd place :p And always happy to hear, I hope you enjoy the book! :))