Thursday, December 13, 2012

Improv- Emotionally Lead Characters! ( and Characters with secrets)

Improv- Emotionally Lead Characters! ( and Characters with secrets)

Emotions are interesting.
Secrets are interesting. 

When starting a scene in an improv exercise, whether it be a structured exercise or one where it is a free-form scene, starting the scene with a character with a background is more interesting.

It is a little like working backwards.  I had a pretty large breakthrough in my last novella when I did this.  I had a hero and a heroine that hated each other.  Every time they were together they were mad, and spit fire at each other. (Not literally, it was a paranormal story, but nothing to do with spitting fire.)

Finally, I had a breaththrough!  I found out WHY they were so mad at each other.  She had accidentally broken up his family. He had been pissed off.  (It is off with a publisher now, hoping to get it published. We will see shortly and you can see what I'm talking about.)

Not only did bringing emotionally charged characters into my scene work to fill the scene, it also made it interesting, and bring in that ever important background that they had had together.

Characters with secrets are the same thing.  Instead of bringing into the scene an emotion, they are bringing in a bit of knowledge the other person doesn't know and if the writer is good, the reader doesn't know either.

Warning: When a writer is doing this, make sure the build-up to the reveal is worth it.  There is nothing worse to a reader than finding out the "big bad secret" everyone is tip-toeing around is something ridiculously stupid.  If it is something not too major, make it a reveal earlier, and play with everyone knowing that secret.

Secrets also serve the purpose of keeping a reader around.  They want to know why he is acting so strangely, and why she doesn't ever mention that time last winter...

What comes to mind is the movie, "Sweet Home Alabama."  I dearly loved the spitfire attitude the couple has toward each other AND the secret that he had that beautiful glass shop.  It was lovely!

Next- Every character has their own secrets, goals, and desires.

No comments:

Post a Comment