Monday, May 14, 2012

Vacationing with Your Characters

Everyone needs a vacation from their work. We long for time off to relax and visit new locations. We want to experience the world around us and make memories that will last the rest of our lives. However, my idea of a great break from everyday life can be something as simple as taking a vacation with my characters.
The idea came to me after a writing conference. As soon as I returned from it, my revisions were calling; submission times closing in on me. So I scheduled four days off from work and spent the time focused on my writing.  Like any good vacation, I used this time to gain perspective, not only for me, but for my characters.
What do they want from life? What are their stories lacking? How can I take suggestions from critiques to make their worlds better?
I spent the days pouring over storyboards and writing books.  I made notes on my manuscripts and pushed to continue writing stories that had huge holes that needed to be filled. I took my characters to libraries and they took me up north and to the shores of beaches. That’s when I realized what I’ve been missing all along. I found perspective.
So what did I realize?
I can go anywhere within the pages of my stories. I’ve been stuck in a box. I was too close to them to see it before. I kept forcing my revisions into the stories that already existed on the pages. Instead, I need to let the changes take my characters to new and exciting places. The stories wanted to travel and I grounded their opportunities to fly.
I must say this was a freeing thought. I only wish it didn’t come two months before my submission deadlines. Two months, two novels, hours of research and revisions ahead of me. Looks like tomorrow I’m back to work.

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