I read somewhere that writing is NOT method acting. I disagree. And I think James Franco is my proof. In order for you to get inside the head of a created person you must become them. Let them guide you through their journey. I mean seriously you don’t make the story go your way, you write the story the way it make sense and what the character would do. Or at least that is how I write.
Do not worry if you are not a student of Stanislavski and his acting method. ( And No you do not need to go and get his book.) One way that I think helps you get into the mind of your character is to Interview them. This is a way for you to help your plot reach its fullest potential. Plus you will be able to learn crucial, intimate and unique details about the character that you might not ever develop as you write through each scene.
A starting point might be from the moment the character became involved in your tightly wounded plot. You need to figure out what happened to bring your characters to this moment. Did something happen in the past that caused all this drama? Was there something in their past that might have made them they way they are now? For instance, John hated women. His last relationship had ended in divorce. He shook his head trying to remove the images of his wife bouncing on top of his best friend.
Another thing to think about is what issues resolved or unresolved can pop up again to complicate the plot.
After thinking about these things then you can start interviewing your character. Sometimes I find it helpful to follow a guide such as one found in Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success, by K.M. Weiland. Other times I like a spontaneous interview, where I ask my character a series of questions and allow the character to answer them in their own words. I use this as research, oh and to keep things straight. Nothing is more embarrassing then starting a story with “Tommy” as the ex boyfriend and then by Chapter ?? calling “Tommy”, “Danny”. (eyes rolling) and yes I have read books with this type of mistake. I ignore it when it is self-published but when a major publishing company printed it that is when I get irritated!! OK enough of that, on to better stuff. I have crated a sample interview sheet you can download and use as your own. Of course it is just a starting point. Feel free to add and let me know who it works for you!
Let me know how you get “into” character, and how you organize the details from your character’s past. I’d love to hear all about! Until then my sweets, Keep Writing!