You’ve probably heard of the adage for “Write what you know.” But how much thought have you given to NOT writing what you know?
I know, I know, it sounds likes I’ve gone off the deep end, but bear with me….
Remember that character in your story who’s become your imaginary friend? How did he/she/it get to be that way? Do you catch yourself starting to set a place at the table for [insert name here] because you think about that story so much your fiction has blurred with reality?
(I’ve never done that … yet.)
And if you did, what will your buddy have for breakfast?
One of the best ways to make characters real to the readers is for them to become real to the writer first. They can’t emerge as three-dimensional unless they exist that way to you. J. K. Rowling commented about Harry Potter that she knew things about him that would never make it into the story.
You should know details about the characters that readers wouldn’t want to know. What’s his routine in the bathroom every morning? How does she plan her outfit for tomorrow before she goes to bed? How does it recharge while everybody else is sleeping?
Admittedly putting this much thought into your story development can spill over into daily life. I did once call one of our kids by the name of the protagonist in a story I was working on (But I don’t feel badly about that … Hubby has called him by the dog’s name.). If family and friends are wondering if you need to be committed, that’s just evidence you’re committed to the story.
Just don’t go off the deep end!
Note: If you don’t know what Ding Dongs are, they’re kind of like chocolate Twinkies. If you don’t know what Twinkies are, then I can’t help you….