Access your Writing Flow State: Getting into Character by Jasper Ezekiel
This week’s featured article is “Access your Writing Flow State: Getting into Character by Jasper Ezekiel.” Enjoy!
Getting into character is an essential part of writing. When we get into character before [or while] we write, we can come to our writing, prepared to write accurately and in line with your creative vision.
Usually we get into character before we start writing our draft or editing. You can also do it while you plan your story.
I like to get into character as part of my writing time, but before I sit down to work on my draft. I feel like it helps me gain a clearer vision of my intention for writing that day.
When we write in character, our novels are better because they make more sense and they flow for the reader.
I find that when I am writing in character, it’s often when I’m in a flow state that my writing is clear, precise. and then I often feel comfortable showing it to other people when it’s done, even if it’s a little bit rough.
Today, I will tell you some ways that I get into character that may help you, so that you can feel in the flow.
Listen to Music
When listening to music to get into character, there are two ways to go about it.
The first is to listen to music that reminds you of your character or your story.
Listening to music is a good way to get into character because it automatically puts you in the mood of your character and helps you focus on their emotions.
When you feel stuck and you can’t figure out what they’re going to do next, I would recommend putting on music that reminds you of your character.
- This might be angsty heavy metal music for a troubled teenager or electronic music for someone with a lot of energy, who is tech savvy.
- Or driving symphonic movie music for an action-adventure character.
Another way to listen to music to get into character is to listen to music that your character would like. This is different from listening to music that reminds you of your character because people don’t always like music that is like them. But, in listening to music that your character might like, you’re thinking from their perspective and deciding what music they would choose if they were given an opportunity.
- Maybe this is the music that they’re listening to through headphones during their story.
- Or, maybe it’s what they listened to growing up.
Whether you listen to music that inspires you about your character or is the music they’d listen to, music is a good way to put yourself in your character’s shoes.
Read Books That Inspire You
Another way to get into character is to read books that inspire you.
Maybe you read a book a long time ago that gave you an inkling for a novel, and now, you’re writing that novel in NaNoWriMo and you’d like to go back to the source of inspiration.
One thing to do is to find that book that inspired you and bookmark the very page that brings you closest to filling your well.
When you do that, you can easily refer back to it and read it before you begin to write, putting yourself in the mindset that you were in when you felt inspired initially.
Additionally, this passage can be something that reminds you of your character and be a great way to get yourself in character.
Put on Clothes That Remind You of Your Character
This one might seem silly, but hear me out.
To get into character, one thing we can do is put on clothes that remind us of that character.
For example, this might be a goofy hat that reminds you of your main character who’s kind of a jokester.
Or, it might be a brooch who reminds you of your main character who’s a classy lady.
Or, it might be a worn pair of shoes that remind you of your character who works outside a lot.
No matter what it may be, putting on clothes to get into character is a very physical way to achieve this.
We feel the object on our body, the weight and shape and size of it, and can use it as a grounding tool to stay connected to our character when our minds start to wander.
In addition, when we look in the mirror we see the object that reminds us of our character and the feeling of getting into character is reinforced by that vision.
It’s a unique way to get into character and one I would recommend.
Do Writing Exercises
And now, last but not least, I’d like to share some writing exercises that I do to get into character.
There are many writing exercises you can do to get yourself into character because every character is needed and every writer is unique and this uniqueness creates infinite ways of writing to get into character.
Everyone will do it differently and if you don’t see a writing prompt that you like to get into character, I encourage you to make your own.
Sometimes, making your own writing prompts is the only way that will make your characters feel accommodated and can really show their true colors.
Here are some writing prompts that I have done in the past that have helped me get into character:
- Write a short journal entry about the scene that you’re writing from your character’s perspective in first person.
- Write some things that your character will not say but will think in the coming scenes. Secrets are powerful and tell us a lot about our characters!
- Write about your character from another character’s perspective, maybe a character whose perspective you have explored in your novel.
- Write a conversation from your character’s past that may be referenced in your coming scenes.
- Write a poem as if your character had written it.
And much more!
Your turn to get into character and connect to your creative writing flow
Like I said, if you feel like none of these speak to you, feel free to create your own.
The beautiful thing about being a writer is that the experience is totally customizable and can accommodate your own needs, as long as you trust yourself and your abilities.
Getting into character is a fun part of writing, one that is entirely up to you on how you do it. I have no recommendations on getting into character, only suggestions and things that I have tried.
Next time you sit down to write, take five minutes and get into character before you write your first words and see what happens!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jasper Ezekiel, a poet and fantasy novelist and an editorial assistant and copywriter for Writer’s Fun Zone. He is queer poet from the Bay Area. In his free time, he does a wide variety of fiber crafts like knitting, crochet, and handspinning. He’s been published in The Berkeley Times, Milvia Street, and Pedestrian Press.
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