Getting Into Character

If you didn’t see on Facebook, I have finally come to a place where I feel satisfied with my plot summary and outline for Colors to Stars and I’m diving into the writing portion, feet first.

summary complete

My experience with The Creative Way by Ted Dekker has been emmensely impactful, even in these beginning stages, and I can tell already that it is going to make a huge difference on this project. Beware: it is going to be a departure from what I’ve written and published so far, but I’m excited to grow as a storyteller.

So far, I have only written the first scene – 1,110 words – and a possible prologue with my villain – 469 words. That’s 1,579 words total. But I can already tell the difference it is making, not only in my writing, but in me.

Ted talks about his process of getting into character, and I never really thought about ‘getting into character’ when writing. Isn’t that just for actors? Sure, I tried to feel out the emotion in the scene and have music that fed that emotion, but this idea of identifying with the characters as an intentional activity was new. And has been both terrifying and revolutionary for my writing process.

The first scenes I’ve written are intense. The prologue that may or may not end up on the cutting room floor shows the prelude to a serial killer’s ritual. I know exactly why he is doing what he is doing, and the parts of him that I see mirrored in myself. He is unfiltered and raw, and while I have better physical control, his motivtions are not foreign to me. Bitterness is a darkness that you have to fight, and this villain isn’t fighting it; he’s partnering with it.

Throughout the scene, and by intentionally connecting with the character, I found out things about him that I didn’t expect: a moment of hesitation, how he justifies his actions, and so on. If I had kept my distance, I think those insights would have been lost and his introduction would have fallen flat.

But it was a good reminder to myself of the ugliness of bitterness. When you hold tightly to a greivance, it doesn’t just affect you or the person you are bitter towards; it seeps out, attacking others as well. We might justify our actions with our hurt, but it doesn’t change the wrong to a right. It was a good reminder. A reminder my heart needs often.

As Hebrews 12 says, “ a root of bitterness springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.” Already, truth is seeping out of this story, and in places I wasn’t expecting it.

The light shines in the darkness.

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