Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Character Back-story Inspiration

So, I'm laying in bed next to my baby boy in the wee hours of the morning, listening to his soft breathing, feeling frustrated because the blog I've been trying to post with his cute newborn picture will not post, no matter what I try. When all of a sudden, the backstory for both my main character in Ghost Girl and the 'super-evil bad guy' pops into my head. At 4:30am. When I am supposed to be sleeping because husband dearest and I have a fun day of letterboxing with the kidlets planned. What's a writer to do, but get up and quickly jot down some notes before the stroke of inspiration fades like the misty webs of dreams that vanish with first light? And, of course, write a quick emergency blog post to replace the one I really want to post.
I recently discovered the History International channel. Love it, love it, love it. There are so many good, educational shows. As a writer, it has been fueling the creative juices for several weeks. There's been an idea I've had for several weeks that I got from a couple of the shows, and I've been trying to figure out how to weave it into Ghost Girl without completely changing the course of the book. Lack of sleep and frustration completed the weaving this morning. At the moment (5:25am), I am so hyped because this idea feels right. It rings true, like other plot ideas I've had and then later seen in print in newly released books. I haven't seen this idea in any other book anywhere, which gets me really excited. It opens up entirely new dimensions for my characters, new motivations and conflicts that I haven't seen anywhere else (not that I've read every book in the known universe, but I've never heard of this idea used elsewhere).
So, having jotted down the new inspiration and plot points, I'm going to attempt to grab another sixty minutes of shut-eye before it's time to get up and make breakfast for the family. And tonight, bwa-ha-ha, I'm going to have so much fun torturing my characters with my newfound knowledge.
Where do you get inspiration for your charcters? Is it from real-life people? Another book? Movie? Educational materials? And how do you take that inspiration and mold it into a living, breathing person that connects with your readers?

5 comments:

Genene Valleau said...

Dawn, so good to see you on the blog again! And sounds like your new little guy is awesome!

Where do I get inspiration for characters? Or perhaps the question should be where DON'T I get inspiration for characters? Not so much from books and movies, but from seeing real life people in flashes of situations and then wondering "what if." What if they made different choices? What if they aren't who they seem to be? What if they are a movie star in disguise or a mobster or a soccer mom pushed beyond her limits or...

Well, that's where "fiction" comes in--make it up!

Glad you're plotting and writing!

Sarah Raplee said...

Great post, Dawn. Congratulations on your new addition!

I get inspiration for my characters from real people, from history and documentary tv, from news articles, from plot ideas, conversations, out of thin air - you name it!

Isn't writing fun?

Paty Jager said...

Congrats on the new baby and the where with all to drag yourself out of bed and write your inspirations. I tend to have them in bed and not want to drag myself out. ;)

Character inspiration...people, places, TV, newspapers, I'm always open to finding ways to make new characters.

Tamara Epps said...

I mostly get inspiration from films and tv shows. Not from what's happening or anything, but usually from the emotions they create within me. I then use these emotions to create scenes and before I know it my imagination has run off with it.

chanceofbooks said...

Dawn! Congrats on a new baby! Does this make 3 or 4 for you? And oh my gosh where does time go???? It seems like it was mere weeks ago that I had a teeny-tiny Mighty Z at his first RWA meeting when he puked down your back :) Is your new one also a July baby? It's a great month for babies ;) And you know everyone REALLY wants that picture . . . Maybe you could email it to Paty or Debbie et al and they could post it for you???? :) :) :)

Bethany