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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Fiction authors have all the fun!

If you haven't seen the TV show, Castle, you need to check out this ABC show! One of the main characters, Rick Castle, is a famous crime fiction writer and totally proves fiction authors have fun~ especially with research.

Even if you're not a crime TV or even a TV junkie (I'm not either, but I love Castle!) here's a peek into my psychosis... I mean my writing life.

This week I've been compiling research and working on character charts for my new suspense series people. And I've had a BLAST!

I'd forgotten how fun writing can be.

Honestly, I didn't want to do the character charts. But after I started typing, these fictional people came to life and I loved poking around in their pasts and finding more and more ideas for present-day conflicts.

I also took a look into something I did for the Defenders of Hope characters that'd I'd forgotten about. Soooo glad God turned my thoughts to this character builder.

It's a concept called an imagery item.

I heard about this through a writer friend (Thanks, Jen!) who heard it from the author, Jade Lee. I have to tell you, Ms. Lee is a genius. So is my best friend, Jen. She’s also a saint for critiquing my proposal at midnight. Meg too.

I could totally do a blog post on the crowns in heaven Jen, Meg, and Sharon will receive for making me write better.

Okay, back to imagery items… an imagery item is a tangible object that describes a character. This can be anything, as long as it exemplifies your character.

Here are some of my favorite examples:

Crimes Against Children Agent Steven Kessler. His imagery item is a broken superhero toy: powerful but wounded, fun if he remembers how to play.

Steven’s partner, FBI Agent Clint Rollins, is a tall, Texas cowboy hat: strong, dependable, traditional, a sturdy covering for those under his care.

I love how those simple items so totally encapsulate the characters. Plus, these items have helped me remember the characters major conflicts and, in some cases, how they heal.

The only imagery item that made its way into a story was Hanna Kessler's.

Her item is a cracked crystal vase: can’t see the full beauty without lots of light, fragile, doesn’t break without a great deal of pressure unless there’s a weak spot. You know the saying, "God uses cracked pots"? Well, Hanna is a heart-deep twist on that truth.

If you've read Enduring Justice, you know why this particular imagery item is so powerful and so dear to me.

For those who haven't read EJ yet, I'll just say Hanna’s imagery item is integral to the story’s ending in a way that still makes me cheer.

All this to say: Imagery items, along with deep back-story, help me see fictional characters as multi-dimensional, breathing people.

Some of whom I like to hang out with. ;-)

And that makes writing even more fun.


Judy said...

Wonderful hints! You're right: you have wonderful helpers in your writing journey.

Edna said...

Oh I love chocolate but can't have sugar :(
Please enter me into your contest to win a book.


Carmen said...

I've heard such good things about Enduring Justice. If this is a contest, please enter me.

desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Rel said...

LOL! Interesting comments ;-)

We just saw our first episode of Castle down under. I enjoyed it but wouldn't say it has grabbed me just yet. Worth persevering on your recommendation though!

Amy Wallace said...

Glad to know you all enjoyed the post about imagery items!

Enjoy Castle, Rel! There was one episode I could have done without, but the rest were fun.

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