© 2010 Lynn Crain
We’re back for lesson #2 in the Adding Steam workshop. I sure do hope you all are enjoying this as I do love to share my information!
Use your own experiences
I’m sure at this moment, you are wondering just what am I talking about. Your own personal experiences can’t be what people want to really see. Well, I’m here to tell you that they do. People must relate to your characters; they must find some common ground or your characters will be meaningless to them.
Have you ever caught yourself while reading a book saying some thing to the effect of, ‘I can see myself doing that’ and know you mean it?
And I don’t mean using the experiences literally…you all remember that blush first being in love…use it, use it to your best advantage because people like to read about other people. How many of you are sick of the heroine or hero always being perfect? I know that I am. Why? Because people are flawed, even the really great people have flaws. They put their pants on the same way we do. They wear underwear, they shower, they go to the bathroom and for heaven sakes’ most of them fart too.
But the point is that you know and can relate to all those things. Use what you know. There is an old saying ‘Write what you know’ and the reason is that if you write about what you are good at, it comes more naturally.
If you are writing romance, there are some things that only women know. Most women remember their ‘first time,’ so use it. You can remember what it was like seeing your spouse for the first time. I do. I thought he was crazy because it was freezing and he was wearing shorts. I also remembering me thinking he wasn’t bad looking and maybe I should get to know him. I’ve used different version of this again and again.
Another one, most women remember the first ‘real’ date they were on, so use it. My husband and I didn’t date at first, we gang dated meaning we went out with a group of people. And we always seemed to pair up differently. Sometimes I look at my husband and don’t know how I ended up married to him. But I do know I worked my butt off to get him. This is something I can use.
The same can be said for men. When I decided to write from a man’s point of view, I realized I was out of my depth. I don’t know what a man feels during sex. But I do know my husband and trust his judgment. When I’m writing from the male point of view, he reads everything. He tells me things like ‘a guy wouldn’t think that emotionally about this’ or ‘no way would a guy do that.’ To be accurate, you have to have resources you can fall back on.
You can use anything you have experienced to make your writing richer and fuller. Everything you do in this mode just makes it so a reader can more readily identify with your characters. If the reader can’t identify with your characters, they won’t finish the book or maybe they won’t even pick it up.
1. List ten experiences that you can use in a novel, be it romance, erotic romance, sensual romance or just a regular book.
2. Take one of those experiences and write me a whole paragraph about one of your characters doing the same thing.
3. What did you get out of the experience? Can you apply this to your writing.
4. List one outside resource you can use when you need it. It can be a person, a book, a library or even a place on the internet. The point here is to get you thinking about how you can find out the information you really need.
See you all next Wednesday!