Bringing a Story to Life – Being One With Your Character

MindMeld1“I think singing and acting go hand in hand.  Take an R & B singer; one song says, ‘I love you,’ the next is, ‘Baby, don’t leave me,’ the next is, ‘If you leave me then I don’t care.’  You have to drop in and out of different perspectives.”    – Ice T

As the release date for Bishop Pair, Metatron’s Army Book Two drew closer, I halted the book I was working on to do a final edit.

It’s a good idea to set a manuscript aside for several days to several weeks.  When you pick it up again, rereading with fresh eyes, you find mistakes or see where subtle tweaks can strengthen the story.

I remember you when.  Going back to Book Two meant having to go back in time.  My mind was in Book Five – Pawn Storm.  My character had gone through numerous life-changing experiences since Bishop Pair.

A lot happens in Book Three – Zwischenzug, and Book Four – Positional Play.

She was no longer the young woman returning to her home system to start a new life, and yet that is who she has to be in Bishop Pair, which meant that is where my perspective had to be.

Remember me?  Fortunately, putting myself back in the mindset of the “innocent” she was at this point wasn’t as difficult as I initially feared it would be.  Simply reading the story drew me into her world, enabling me to see it through her eyes.

And her heart.

 Going forward was another story.

What happened to you?  Have you ever run into someone you haven’t seen for years and find yourself astonished by the changes?

Going back to pick up the threads of Pawn Storm was like running into someone I hadn’t seen in years.  I had to take time to study the changes, understand who she’d become.  This was no easy feat.

Because Pawn Storm is a work in progress, there isn’t yet enough story for me to get drawn in.

 Even more challenging, with a release date days away, Bishop Pair is still fresh in my mind.

Christine is newly arrived at Dynamic.

To go forward, I had to become one with the character.

Getting into character.  Writing through the eyes of the character requires a bit of acting skill.  You have to put yourself in their shoes.

Switching between characters within a story isn’t difficult since, as the author, you have a bird’s eye view of everyone on stage, but going between set changes can present a challenge.

Especially if the character goes through a life-altering experience.

Who are you again?  Editing isn’t the only reason a writer might go back to a previous scene.  Going back in time can help the author reconnect with the character because the personality difference acts as a contrast, sharpening focus.

Though character evolution happens in every story, it’s tougher to manage with a saga.

Metatron’s Army is unique in that the story takes place over several books.  This was the best format to do justice to the story and  for me to illustrate character evolution that spans years.

This story telling format introduced unique challenges for managing character growth.

Staying true to the character as new characters are brought in, older characters are phased out, and secondary characters go through their own evolution is a full-time job.

Fortunately, in the seed of the challenge is an advantage.  I’ve been living with Metaron’s Army for the past thirty-five years.

Each book is more like a chapter for me

I know the characters well.

I already know who they will be at the end of the series.

The tough part is, as Ice T says, dropping in and out of different perspectives.

It can be mentally exhausting.

Bishop Pair, Metatron’s Army Book Two is now available for pre-order.

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