Tags

, , , , ,

Meet the strangers within you.

Strangers, how can that be?  You are who you are, there is only one you.  But not if you are a writer or actor.

Actors have to become the characters they portray, while writers the characters they invent and make vivid with words.  To be a good writer you must become the character you write about.  You must know how they behave, think, react, dress.  What makes them scared, brave, angry, sad?

Writing-writing

In my crime thriller novels, The Unseen, The Uncounted and The Unwanted, my protagonist, Sean Fagan, is a large, dependable policeman with a failed marriage, two teenaged daughters, a liking for Guinness, class music and Victoria Lawless, his girlfriend.

Fine, you say, easy character for a male writer to portray.  True, especially if I base his behaviour similar to some of my own.  But when I write from Victoria’s point of view, then I have to mentally change gender.

To truthfully portray her character so the reader believes in her, I must understand her passions, her motivations, her anger.  I must be inside her body to feel the joy of her love making, her sweat, her fear; what clothes she likes, her feelings towards others and the forces which drive her.  I must become Victoria Lawless, in mental vision and physical presence.  If I do not, the reader will see a shallow character, one they cannot believe in.  In which case I fail as a writer.

So, there are two strangers I have, but darker ones lurk in the deep recesses of a writer’s mentality.

In The Unseen I have a brutal psychopath named Zoby who butchers his victims and keeps body parts as trophies.  To portray him as a believable mad man I have to look inside his mind and understand why he commits the horrors he does.  What are his thoughts, his motivations, his pleasures?  I have to become Zoby in the same way I became Sean and Victoria.  That can be scary.  For Zoby and his actions are inventions of my mind.  This is what I mean when I say meet the strangers within you.  Read The Unseen and meet some of my strangers.  Read The Unseen http://tinyurl.com/c3yjc9l

Frontcover of the unseen

More about characters in my next set of meditations from a bar stool.  How to change gender, how to think like a killer.

Go to my website http://www.crimefiction-jamesmckenna.co.uk