Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Play Day Ideas for Characters of All Ages

I read a post recently by a new author who was on the hunt for her missing Mojo. She'd been going along just fine, then one day poof! End of writing spree.

She's in good company. Who hasn't experienced it?

One of my favorite things to do to perk up the ol' muse is to take my characters on vacation and give them--and me--a break.There is no limit. I can take them anywhere on the planet and have them experience anything at any time in history. The only rule is to keep them in character. If my character is a grump, than he must remain a grump as I'm waltzing him along the Danube. If she competes with Pollyanna for the optimism award, she must remain optimistic in a battle during the Crusades.

The point is to take them away from your story setting and write their responses and interactions in a new setting. You can always include a little extra challenge, depending on what you need to practice. Blindfold your character and have him describe a circus. Give your Regency heroine dialogue with 21st Century college coed. Have a tactile experience in a petting zoo.

Here are some more play day ideas:

  • Take your historical character to Cape Canaveral--or take your 31st century character to NASA
  • Bring your ultra-modern business woman to 1920s Oklahoma
  • Take a date to a Mardi Gras ball in the 18th century
  • Let your computer nerd chat with the foreman of an architectural dig in Egypt
  • Send your cowboy to the Louvre
  • Fly your disciple of St. Paul to Mars to visit with those who took 'em up on the one-way ticket deal.
  • Have an auditory experience in Africa
  • Have an auditory experience in a preschool
  • Let your historical character describe contemporary New York
  • Let your chatterbox draw a shy immigrant into a conversation
  • Give a chariot racer a ride around a NASCAR track
Because none of this will ever see the light of day, because it doesn't affect your WIP, and because it's nothing more than a vacation from word-count goals, you can play all you want. Then your jealous muse and truant mojo will get jealous and return to your side.

And when they do, net 'em and put them back to work.

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