My “practice” novel is almost to the midway point.
I’ve been slogging through the past few chapters of A Voice from the Past as my characters face some emotional changes. They seem true to life in their expressions and quandaries, but somehow, at least to me, I want more from them. More action, more depth, more life. And direction. Maybe they want to call the shots, and I am battling them for control. I don’t know. I’m new to this. Remember? An amateur.
Yesterday, I found myself staring down one of my characters.
I wondered what to have them say next. In that moment, I realized once again how helpful the advice gleaned from the wonderful teachers at Mt. Hermon’s Christian Writers Conference was to me. The reason I could look my character in the eyes is because James Scott Bell taught us to develop characters by finding actual pictures of them from stock photos on the internet and answering questions about all the details of their lives.
Karen Ball, an avid coffee lover, explained that she creates characters by assigning how they like their coffee! She described making coffee for them and sitting in her writing studio drinking coffee with her characters. They come alive for her that way. Real coffee, real characters. Very cool!
So, I have a notebook with all my characters pictures and bio’s in it.
Whenever I need more from my characters, I go to the notebook and flip to that character’s page. Then I ask,
if you were real, what would you do or say right now?
It sounds a bit crazy. Maybe people would say eccentric. Okay, perhaps even neurotic. I say helpful. Necessary. Enlightening.
Now, if only they’d talk back…
How do you make your characters come alive for you?
I may be an amateur, but my friend, Margaret Feinberg [www.margaretfeinberg.com], has a new book and 7-session Bible Study calledWonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God[www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck](releasing Christmas Day)—a personal invitation for you to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life. Wonderstruck[www.margaretfeinberg.com/wonderstruck]will help you:
Recognize the presence of God in the midst of your routine
Margaret weaves a captivating story which reveals the heart of God around every bend. Searching for a deeper understanding of God, she asked him to show up in a fairy tale way bringing wonder and amazement; and he did. Wonderstruck describes all the ways our hearts were made to thirst for the heart of God.
I’m reminded of the vast ability of our God to do unimaginable things in us, through us and for us.
All it takes is the merest thought of a prayer that God would reveal himself in spectacular ways, and our open eyes, ears and hearts to see them. He’s waiting to awe us. He longs to.
So where have you seen the wonder of God in your life?
No one paid me for this endorsement. I’ve heard Margaret speak at two of our church’s women’s retreats, and I’ve already read three of her other books. So I gladly accepted a download of the first three chapters of Wonderstruck in order to tell people more about God and Margaret. I can’t wait to read the rest!