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the body, the voice, a manner of speaking, walking, moving

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Dear Reader, as I write my novel, the furniture around me fades in a fog and reveals my character on a chair. I know how he speaks and behaves, and moves. I’ve sculpted him in my mind, and he’s alive now.

I’m not crazy, but it really feels like I can see him there, sitting on a chair in a particular position that BELONGS to him. He’s telling his story, and I can hear his voice. I type his words trying to follow the speed of his speech. I know his tone, his pitch, the way he moves his lips and head and hands to talk. I can see how he picks up a glass to pause, and breathe, and drink his water. I can see how his face changes in every part of his narrative.

And I know what happens next. In his arch. How he ends up. I know him so well that on writing this story a little more, that fog, that image, I inhale them, now I AM him, and by BEING him, writing becomes physical and emotionally exhaustive. I’m this character: his body, his voice, his manner of speaking, walking, moving.

You know that every story has a character. Otherwise, what’s the point? And to create these characters, some writers write them a complete profile. Others just stick to the basics: who’s this person? What do they want? How can they get it? What are their obstacles? How do they do it (or fail)?

physical characterization, dressing, personality, body expression, motion, restraint, control, diction, singing, intonation, pauses, words, tempo, rhythm, speech, charm, patterns.

Trying to seek a more soulful writing, I ended up choosing this crazy approach that I suggest to you today. In BUILDING A CHARACTER, a book written for actors and the theater, Constantin Stanislavski teaches his art and system to build a believable character and be that character to the audience of a play.

Building a character for Stanislavski consists of physical characterization, dressing, personality, body expression, motion, restraint, control, diction, singing, intonation, pauses, words, tempo, rhythm, speech, charm, patterns.

Would you be the character of your story?

Best,

João

■ PS: When you read, do you BECOME the characters of the story, or do you give them faces of people you know? And when you write, do you feel you ARE characters of your story even if they’re nothing at all like you in real life?

☕️ first shared on @beardbetweenthelines

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