Writing Techniques

I have two writing techniques that I routinely use to help me write my story. The first is to interview my characters, whether they play main or supporting roles. It helps me get “inside their heads” so to understand what their reactions might be in a given situation, not to mention fleshing them out for purposes of character development. For example, questions I might ask are to tell me about themselves, pet peeves and their worst nightmare. Some of their answers are quite surprising, even to me!

My second technique is to write background pieces. This is not the same as backstory. Sometimes I discover parts of my world that I know nothing about. I have to get familiar and comfortable with it so I can write a believable chapter. Here’s an example: My vampire has a number of business interests in Seattle. So, it’s only logical that he’ll need workers to help run these concerns. Many of the employees of these various businesses are his human servants. But how does he find them? Well, through an employment agency he runs. It’s a legitmate agency in that it’s not just used for recruiting human servants–it actually finds people jobs, whether it’s in one of my vampire’s businesses or not. And those that go to work for him are not necessarily made into servants. There are certain qualifications that must be met, but even if a recruit meets them, it still doesn’t mean he’ll end up a servant. And to think I just discovered this tonight!

What it means is that I’ll have to write the background chapter before I move on. Doing so doesn’t slow down the progress of the story much. Many of these background pieces are quite short. But short or long, it’s a way to help me flesh out and understand the characters I’ve created and the world I’ve built.

Look for my interview of author Rebecca Besser coming in January 2012!

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