Saturday, February 17, 2007

Go There

Yesterday I hit a wall with the mariachi story I'm currently writing. Basically, my heroine decided to do something that I never imagined she'd do. I jumped out of my chair when I realized where we were going and paced my office and then finally turned off the computer thinking, there's no way I'm gonna go there.

But then Ryan and I were watching Inside the Actor's Studio with Clint Eastwood. James Lipton asked Eastwood about his character, Harry Calahan from the Dirty Harry series, specifically about how he would do his own stunts. When Lipton asked if he was afraid, Eastwood replied, "No. When you're really in the character, you can do anything."

I almost jumped off the couch but I was also in the middle of eating a chocolate croissant.

Anyway, I realized that writing is like acting except we play all the roles of our characters. But are you ever writing a scene and then suddenly you realize that you're stomach is tingling with fear just like the character, or that for a moment, you could actually see the room in which your character was in. And just like actors when they spontaneously discover a new bit of dialogue or action, the writer has to go bravely forward in the character's skin.

But it's scary as hell sometimes. But necessary.

So with that brave comrades, I head off to my favorite coffee shop and jump off the bridge with my character.

P.S. Wish me luck.


Erica Orloff said...

Brilliant post--and very much what I go through, too.


Louise said...

Hi Mary!
Great post. And it reminds me so much of a lesson I learned as a reporter: The question you are most afraid to ask is the one question you HAVE to ask. Because that's where the real story is.

Weez :)

Mary Castillo said...

Thanks Erica & Weez! Writing never gets easier because I think when we climb over one mountain, there's another waiting for us!