A COUPLE of weeks ago, I came across a link to a blog post by Lois Eighmy titled “Character Journaling for Fun and Profit.” Intrigued, I clicked.
The post isn’t about journaling in the traditional sense … it’s not even about nonfiction. A character journal, according to Ms. Eighmy, is journaling from the point of view of a fiction character. What a great technique for developing a fiction character!
But I think that character journaling could be done with wonderful results for journalers and nonfiction writers, as well.
Imagine — you want to write about an event that happened in your youth and it involves another person, but you feel that you’re not capturing that person very well on the page. Whether you’re writing a memoir vignette or you just want to record it for yourself, try writing the event from the other person’s perspective. Include emotions, perceptions, and actions. As you do so, the character will come alive on the page, because you will be writing in his or her voice as you remember it.
If you are working on a longer project such as a book-length memoir, character journaling on a regular basis as a pre-writing exercise could help you see that person more clearly in your mind and put flesh on the bones of a character skeleton.
If keeping a character journal doesn’t appeal to you, you might consider writing a letter to yourself (or someone else) from that character. I have written previously here about writing a letter to yourself from a younger you or an older, wiser you. Who’s to say you couldn’t write a letter to yourself from your mother, your sister, or your father, without equally great results?
What do you think about this idea?
Image Credit: Jeremy Brooks