When I write, I try to view the scene in my head as if it’s a movie. My first drafts tend to be spare, almost like scripts. Not in terms of format, but if there are scenes with multiple characters in them I focus on dialogue and blocking, or how the characters move around the space/stage.
How characters move is something I need to figure out in order to write them well. I ran into this problem when I was writing the first draft of H&S, a paranormal romance with a secret baby plot. I couldn’t get the hero to show up right on the page.
Part of it was that I hadn’t yet determined his appearance. I combed through photos of hot male celebrities and settled on one, but he wasn’t right. It became even harder to imagine this character in the scenes. Then, while watching Dancing With the Stars, I had epiphany. Ky was one of the pro dancers!
Once I had someone in mind for Ky, everything clicked. I was able to not just imagine Ky in the scene, but I knew how he moved, what his mannerisms were, and I found the missing piece – that cocky swagger. Ky carries an immense amount of guilt and doubts his abilities as a leader, but underneath all of that, he’s got a good sense of humor and how-you-doin’ swagger. While Ky is definitely not based on this dancer (since I wrote most of that draft before having this epiphany), having a strong sense of how the character carried himself and moved through space made the writing that much easier.
How do you determine how a character moves through space?