Monday, July 4, 2011

Stepping Into Your Character's Shoes

If the shoe fits . . . well, it sure makes it easier to step into the role of your character. What if you're a male writing about a female? Stepping into her shoes might be difficult.


It can be tricky to balance, especially in spikes. At first it's awkward. You might fall. Dust yourself off and get back up on those heels. You'll soon find yourself strutting or prancing through your plot.


Does your character need to move with the poise and grace of a prima ballerina? Impossible? Not if you practice, practice, practice.

There you go. Much better!

Venturing into a new genre, exploring terrain your psyche never dared to conquer before? Those magic shoes could carry you off into mysterious, mystical realms. Try them on.

Don't forget to pay attention to little details. Does your teen female curl her toes when Dreamy Dude flirts with her?


What if you're a female stepping into a male character's shoes? What kind of stance does he have? Are you taking note of his features, like those hairy legs? With a little creativity (and some black eyeliner - yes, those hairs are drawn on), you'll be on the right track. 


Whether you're a female writing about male characters or a male writing about female characters, in the beginning you might have to tighten the reigns to head them in the right direction. Once they come to life, you could find yourself wrangling with the keyboard to keep up as they gallop down the trail, daring to leap off the edge of the page. Whoa!


So, what are we waiting for? Let's get to work!

How do you find a good fit filling your character's shoes? 

"Creativity often consists of merely turning up what is already there. Did you know that right and left shoes were thought up only a little more than a century ago?"   Bernice Fitz-Gibbon


38 comments:

Lynda R Young said...

hahaha I love the pics. They are brilliant.

lol, I didn't realise left and right shoes are a relatively new invention. Crazy!

Jen said...

Guess I better go draw some hair on my legs, lol!

Gracie said...

Haha that's awesome... nice pictures. :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I'm loving your picture posts! And those hairy legs scared me for a moment! :)

Bryce Daniels said...

Hi, Lyn! (Sorry, I can't bring myself to address you as 'nerd.')

Thanks for stopping by the Society!

And yes, I DO SO LOVE the way you dive into research for your projects. I totally agree with that approach. We learn so much more that way.

LynNerd said...

Lynda - Thank you. I was surprised to learn that about right and left shoes, too. Interesting.

Jen - The black eyeliner washes off super easy. LOL!

Gracie - Thanks! Glad you like the pics.

Susan - Those hairy legs scared my sister, too. She was hoping my legs weren't really that hairy! Haha!

Hi Bryce - So glad you stopped by. Thanks for the affirmation. That's quite a compliment coming from someone who researches so thoroughly.

Chantele Sedgwick said...

Ha ha ha ha!! LOVE this post. Seriously hilarious and has great advice! You are too cute. :)
My first WIP was alternating girl/guy POV's. It was hard to get that guy POV just right. I never thought about trying on guy shoes... Maybe I should draw some hair on my legs and wear my hubby's shoes around the house when I write the sequel! ;)

Stephanie, PQW said...

This was hilarious!

LynNerd said...

Thanks, Chantele. That's cool about your first WIP, and I can see how hard that would be. Yes, wear your hubby's shoes and add some hair! Haha!

Stephanie, thanks! Glad it made you chuckle. The male foot model made me promise I wouldn't tell anyone his name! Hee hee!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

First, I must say those hairy legs look suspect.
Second, writing from a woman's point of view was challenging beyond words. The things I do for my readers...

Wub2Write said...

LOL! Too, funny, Lynn! I especially like that last one with the brief case and black socks! Sexy!

Theresa Milstein said...

I rarely learn so much while laughing so hard.

I'm a little worried about the male leg hair on those last photos!

So true - we need to step in different shoes. I usually feel comfortable trying different ones. But once I tried someone too out there for me. I dropped the book after a chapter. Maybe I'll return to it. Never know.

Emily Rittel-King said...

The hairy legs made me laugh out loud! Thanks for the laugh, and for the reminder: it's hard to walk in someone else's shoes.

Jasmine Walt said...

Those pics are fantastic? Where did you find a man willing to pose in heels for you? :D

I sometimes have trouble stepping into my characters' shoes-- especially the male MC of my current WIP, a Scottish Highland warrior who's been dead for 300 years or so. Occasionally I'll be writing a scene and realize that I'm thinking of how I would handle the situation, NOT my character and I have to smack myself on the back of my head to get back into the right POV. Still working on it!

LynNerd said...

Alex - I know what you mean. I've struggled writing a male's POV.

Maria - Haha! Funny that you think the dress shoes and black socks look sexy! Even with all those leg hairs?

Theresa - I'm so glad I made you laugh hard. Nothing like a good laugh to brighten our days. Wow, the "out there" character sounds intriguing. You might want to pursue that and see where he/she takes you!

Emily - Glad you got a kick out of it (haha - excuse the pun) and also took away the main point, too. It really is hard to jump into all our different characters' shoes.

Jasmine - Welcome! I promised the guy I wouldn't tell who he is! It's so tempting, though! Your Scottish Highland warrior MC does sound challenging. Yay for you!

I'm really enjoying everyone's comments. Thanks!

Trisha said...

LOL. Nice pics :)

Jess said...

This goes above and beyond, and is a shining example of dedication to the craft! Well-done :)

Bish Denham said...

Fabulous! Laughing all the way.

D. U. Okonkwo said...

LOL! Like the pics! It's true you have to look for your character, and he or she has to fit with you in a way that you're comfortable writing about. Of course...characters have been known to have a mind of their own :o)

Stephen Tremp said...

A bit disturbing on many levels, yet very effective. I have to write inside people's heads, even females. What I do is write the chapter in Omnicient POV, then decide who's should be telling it, then write it in Third Person POV. It works so much better for me that way.

Talli Roland said...

Who is the man behind the shoes!?

Great photos!

LynNerd said...

Trisha - Thank you!

Jess - Oh, thanks, you made my day!

Bish - Thanks! So glad it made you laugh!

DUO - Yes, gotta find a good fit. And characters can be unpredictable, for sure!

Stephen - Okay, I'll fess up that I am a bit disturbing on many levels. Haha! Thanks for sharing what works best for you. I love to hear how each person works.

Talli - Glad you liked the photos. I promised the man I wouldn't reveal who he is! It's hard to keep a secret!. Haha!

thomasrubio said...

Lynn, now I know what old married couples do for fun. hahaha. This was a funny and creative post.

love, Tom

Steve H said...

If that is George, he'll never hear the end of it. Looks like George's legs but I am guessing that somehow, someway you bribed Michael into posing for this.

blonde1_777 said...

Just when I thought your blogs couldn't get any clever-er (yes, I said "clever-er")! Love how you show great ideas for authors to really get a feel for descriptions/characters. You go Mom! Your hairy legs scared me too! :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It's fun slipping onto a new character's head, although a few of mine were more challenging than others. I love writing from a man's POV though. So simple!!

LynNerd said...

Tom - Thanks! I think. Old married couple, eh? Haha!

Steve H - My lips are sealed as to the identity of the model, but you gotta admit they're pretty sexy in those heels! LOL.

Blonde1 - Sorry to give you a scare, but I'll take props from you any day! Do people still say that? I love the word "clever-er." Yep, that's a good one. XO

Diane - I agree that it's good fun getting into a new character's head, even if it's challenging. That's great that you don't have any problem writing a man's POV!

Alana said...

Oh my goodness - brilliant post! Best I've seen in days, no contest. I love all your visualization techniques that you share on here - I think that writing with you has to be one of the most amusing, entertaining and inspiring experiences around!

Charmaine Clancy said...

Awesome pictures! Love it :)
Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

Charmaine Clancy said...

Awesome pictures! Love it :)
Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

LynNerd said...

Alana - Wow, thanks for the wonderful comment. I'm saving it and will pull it out when I need a pick-me-up!

Charmaine - Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the pics!

Misha said...

Hahaha nicely done!

I don't really do the "fit" thing, but rather pay attention to the voices talking in my head as if they're real people talking to me.

That kind of prevents me from making guys too girly or girls too one way or the other.

:-)

LynNerd said...

Misha - Thanks. We all work in different ways, and I'm all for whatever works. I do it all in my head, too, but I couldn't fit a camera in my brain, so I had to take some real photos to get the point across! Now, the research with the hairspray, that was worth doing because it gave me more sensory details and enhanced the story.

Elana Johnson said...

Dude, those pictures are fantastic! It's really about the details we can impart into our characters that makes them come alive. Great post!

LynNerd said...

Hi Elana! Thank you for visiting my blog and signing up. Woo hoo! I agree that the details definitely make our characters more real. Thanks!

Amy said...

Mom you are hilarious! Thanks for being so funny! Love Amy

Amy said...

Keep the posts coming Mom!

susielindau.com said...

This is so awesome and should be in a book! You should write one about writing tips and make it all humorous and illustrated in photos like for all of us who are visual learners!
Fantastic! Especially hairy leg guy!