Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Thoughs on a Meme

Last week I was tagged to participate in a meme: 6 Random Facts About Me. I have to admit that when I was first tagged, my initial reaction was to sigh and wonder if I could skip it. But being a good sport, I thought about it for a few days and finally compiled my list.

Of course, part of this game was to then tag 6 of my friends to play too. A few friends did play along. Other's declined gracefully. I get that. After my first few months on Facebook, I stopped loading every application someone sent my way. These things just have a way of growing until they could absorb every waking moment if you let them!

Saturday, I was sweeping pollen off my front porch for the second time in a week - each swoosh of the broom sending up big clouds of heavy green, VISABLE, pollen! Ick. My watery eyes and sheer determination to reclaim my porch gave me time to think about this meme, my friends' responses, comments on my meme, and something Donald Maass said at the Surrey International Writer's Conference last year.

Actually, I don't remember Donald Maass's exact words, but basically the message was - go beyond the obvious. When you seek to describe your characters, don't use the first thing that comes to your mind, or the fifth, or even the tenth. Really dig deep for that thing that makes them unique. Make a list, pushing yourself to write 10, or even 20 descriptive characteristics. Same goes for character motivations, or descriptions of scenery, or probably just about anything you want to describe in your book. Dig down until you get to that thing that really makes that character stand out.

Being a planner, I really thought about the 6 items I would describe for my "random" facts. I pretty much listed them in the order they came to me, but I thought about them for two days before posting my reply. And you know, in the few comments I received, it wasn't the first item that caused comment, nor the third, but the fifth (signs of creativity) that caught people's attention.

Interesting, huh!