Monday, October 12, 2015

# On Writing # Post

Weird Writing Tip #8-Characters Trading Places

Part of a series of Weird Writing Tips that have helped me craft that wacky thing we call "fiction".

Characters Trading Places

You've seen movies, shows, or scenes  where the main characters have to pretend to be someone else (or who actually wind up in someone else's body, for whatever reason). "Face Off" was a great example. (The movie with John Travolta and Nicholas Cage, not the special effects reality show.) was a great example. Or the episode in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" where Faith and Buffy trade bodies, and Faith has to act like the girl she both loathes and secretly envies.  In these cases, the actors have to use what they know of the mannerisms, speech, and behavior of who they are trying to impersonate in order to sell the deception.

One way to help you get a truly unique insight into the characters of your story is to let them trade hats.

 The weird tip is: Write a scene where two of your main characters have to impersonate one another.

This doesn't mean you have to add this plot device into your actual story (unless you want to). It's merely an exercise to let you see characters through each other's eyes.

Pick your two main characters, or a character you are struggling with and either the protagonist or villain. Now write a scene where, by accident or design, one of them has to become the other. Then reverse roles and have the second character portray the first. 

How do the characters see one another? What quirks or mannerisms do they feel are important to portray? What troubles do they have pulling off the deception, and what do they learn about their alter ego by the end?  In writing this exercise, you'll discover some things about both the character they are adopting as well as themselves. It's a weird, sideways look at what makes a character tick by making them do something completely out of their nature.

Have fun, and have at it!

On select Mondays, I like to gab about writing or whatever's going on with me. For more gab, please join me on Twitter or Facebook. I love talking to people!

J. Rose Allister is the author of more than twenty-five books, primarily romance and erotic romance. A former editor and submissions director, she now works as a mild-mannered hospital secretary by day, naughty writer by night.

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