Wednesday, March 20, 2013

PARTY ON THE PAGE

Post by Lynn

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”
- Robin Williams

I know, never mind what the calendar says. It’s not really spring yet, not in Colorado and especially not here in Wyoming. But don’t you feel it coming? In the longer days, in the insta-melt snow flurries?
And who can be all that serious in the springtime?

But we still need to write. So let’s party on the page. Starting with:

PARTY PROFILE. Know thy characters, right? Throw your protagonist (secondary characters too) into a party and see what happens. Does your character love a good soiree? Of what ilk – a kegger in a wheat field or a masked ball in old New Orleans? Does he prefer chardonnay, Old Milwaukee or pastis? Maybe she shocks you (and her date) by downing a shot of Jack Daniels with a pickle juice chaser. Is your character the one who cranks the tunes and pushes the furniture against the wall or does she look at her watch and whisper, “I told the babysitter we’d be home by eleven”?

GESTURE. Try out this writing prompt, adapted from The Writer’s Portable Mentor by Priscilla Long:

Go to a café, bar, someplace with lots of people. Zero in on two people sitting together. For 15 minutes, watch and write down all their gestures. Observe posture. How do they move their hands, eyes? Does she jiggle her foot? Does he cock his head? Write it all down.

You’ll need to sip on your drink/coffee and gaze occasionally at the bartender/barista so as not to freak the couple out. When time’s up, speculate in writing about what all this says about the relationship. Who’s in the power position? Who looks defensive (and what gesture tells you that)? First date or tenth anniversary?

WRITE A PARTY SCENE. Draw from your ragged-synapses memory bank. Ah, come on. You partied. Or at least went to some parties and watched the shenanigans. Even if it’s just a scene where you are a kid, supposed to be in bed, peeking through the banister at your best friend’s mother staggering to the bathroom, her Pall Mall dropping ashes on the carpet. Write that scene. Do it now.
……….

That was fun, wasn’t it?

Keep what you’ve written. Change the names to protect the guilty – or not.

Don’t let the fun stop there. Party on! And remember…
Anything worth having is worth having fun getting.
- Jerry Gillies

2 comments:

Luana Krause said...

Picturing your characters at a party? Brilliant! This is just what I need to nail down some of my characters that refuse to let me in on their secrets. Great post, Lynn.

Deborah Nielsen said...

My protagonist would never order pastis. Because I don't even know what that is. :) I think he/she isn't much of a party animal but your suggestions, Lynn, are really good. Never thought of them.

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