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Tip Tuesday #110

Tip Tuesday is a recurring feature where writers send in tips for fellow writers. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.
Bring Your Research and Characters to Life

This past Sunday my family and I traveled to the small town I'm using as inspiration for a town in one of my YA novels. Walking the local hangouts, taking in the quirky details of the buildings, and imagining my characters there was really inspiring.

You might not be able to travel to the place your novel is set, especially if it's entirely fictional, but you can bring smaller elements to life. Even acts as simple as eating, wearing, or doing what your main character would can
bring realism and detail to something that before only existed in your pages.

I consider it a very casual approach to "method writing" and find it more inspiring than anything else. Every time I put myself in my character's shoes (sometimes literally) and approach something with that mindset, new ideas and details open up to me, and I find myself very eager to try them out on the page.



Jennifer Pickrell said...

Love this tip!

Munk said...

Like Robert De Niro in Raging Bull.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

What a fun idea! Thanks, Casey. :-)

Natalie Aguirre said...

That's an awesome tip Casey. Even if your setting is fictional, you can bring them to life by places you visit or even in the town/city where you live. I'll have to try to put myself more in the character's shoes when visiting settings. Thanks.

Matthew MacNish said...

And if you get published, or even if you self publish, you can write all expenses off.

Heather said...

I love this idea, it sounds like a lot of fun. Although, I fear if I start drinking coffee as much as my main character then I'll get twitchy. ;)

Kristin Lenz said...

I thought of Method Acting as I read this, and yep, that's what Stephanie's post referred to also. I haven't gone quite that far, but I have found it helpful to journal and take pictures when I'm in a certain setting - especially noting the light/shadows at different times of day, the temperature, scents...

Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban said...

I agree Casey if you have been to the place you'll bring it alive in your writing.
I write Fantasy but the settings are always places I have been to.
Great tip!

Old Kitty said...

I find walking in my character's shoes a most enlightening experience! Take care

Lisa Nowak said...

I think this is a great idea because it allows you to notice and include those small details that can really enrich a setting.

The town my books are set in (Eugene, Oregon) is my favorite place in the world, so I love to go there. And, like Matt suggested, I write off the expenses. :)

Steve MC said...

It's definitely the small details that not only bring something to life, but show someone knows what they're talking about.

I once checked out a place I'd set a scene and found a pamphlet left on a picnic table that not only showed a lot about the area, but about my character by what he thought of it. Never would've come up with that without wandering through there.

Jeigh said...

I've done this and it does help a lot. The other day, we visited the lair of my bad guy and my kids were freaking out. I called for him but he didn't come out. It was so fun.

Jennifer R said...

Great tip. Very simple, yet so important!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Great tip. A fun way to get to know your character better.

Beth said...

This is a great suggestion. Anything that helps you get into your character's mind is a good thing!