It's the first Wednesday of the month and it's time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group posts. If you haven't heard of the group, pop over to the blog and check it out, then check out the Facebook group. It's a great group full of supportive people including our leader Alex J. Cavanaugh. Who continues to motivate us even in his busy published life.
So I'm super insecure on a few things...like sending query letters and talking to agents and editors at conferences, but I'm pretty confident about knowing my characters are "realistic." So I'd like to share one of my techniques with you I'm using for my current WIP.
The main character, Brittney, has runaway from home and is going to survive on a trail until things get too tough. As an adult, my life has been pretty blessed. So now a days roughing it would be a Motel 6. To immerse myself into Brittney's life I had to become (kind of) her. I spent a lot of time on the trail she would be hiding on, looking for resources, places and ways to build shelter, how to avoid being seen and how to get to small communities if she (I typed I there, LOL) needed to. I also needed to know what tools she would need to build a shelter, to protect herself and to capture or catch food.
Shelter is pretty darn important, so that was my first focus. I thought about the surroundings and how I could use the leaning trees and the cliff faces to make a lean to with some smaller branches. I didn't have a hatchet, but I had a bow saw, so I cut down a smallish tree with it and cut it into pieces.
Then I thought maybe Brittany would chop down a tree with a hatchet. She might want to use bigger trees for shelter.
Let me tell you...know one though I could chop down a tree with a hatchet, but I did and I learned a lot.
The main thing I leaned is Brittany would not chop down a tree with a hatchet. There would be no reason to cut down a tree this big unless she was planning to build a log cabin, and she is not physically well enough to do that...so I learned a big lesson about my character that day. Plus I showed my husband, daughter and in-laws I would chop down a tree with a hatchet.
I knew Brittany would need fire, so I collected some tinder from the scrapping the bark off the first tree I sawed down and let it dry in an Altoids tin. It's a good survival tool to keep a little dry tinder in or other small items, like fishing gear. (I'll be trying that theory out later.) Plus, if you get a fire started you can save a hot coal in it and move it from one location to another. (From what I've read.)My good friend Lenny Lee send me a survival bracelet for Christmas and it has a fire-starter on it. So one night I worked and worked trying to get my box of tinder to ignite. Finally, my husband said go get some dryer lint and add it to the tinder. Wham O! I MADE FIRE!!!!!! It was so exciting!
Sorry for the long post...I have been dying to tell you about how I get into my character's head/life for a long time. I hope it helps some of you get into your character's head a bit more.
Have a wonderful month! Thanks for stopping in!