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"Shuffle Qs"

Exercise #78 : "Shuffle Qs"

This is a strangely effective exercise for getting insight into your characters.

First, take 6 post-its or 6 small and identical scraps of paper. On each write a number and a question about your character, leaving one side blank. The questions might be, for example, why did he quit school? Or, what does she really think of her best friend? Or, what is going to happen to her in chapter 3? Close your eyes and shuffle them number-side down. Now you have 6 unknown "cards" to draw from. Without peeking, set them aside.

Now, take another sheet of paper. What you want to do is hold in your mind the clear intention --- crazy as it may seem to you, by the way, it's not crazy at all to your "artist's mind" --- to answer the questions in the order in which you will draw them from the pile. In other words, you are quieting your conscious, everyday mind, and letting your artist mind take a flying leap.

So, for the first question -- without knowing what the question is!---as an answer, what pops into your head? Whatever it is, write it down. It will probably be some kind of symbol. Maybe you will see a giant ostrich. Or a car crash. Or a thunderstorm! You might "hear" some words, or suddenly remember the smell of rhubarb pie baking. Whatever, it is, jot it down. (If you hesitate, the exercise does not work nearly as well--- so KEEP YOUR PEN ON THE PAGE.) (You may find that it helps to first close your eyes and take three long, deep breaths before "receiving" each answer.) Once you have six, then, draw the cards. If, say, you draw #5 first, then that is the question that matches your first answer. And so on. What do your answers tell you?

Hmm... This one requires a lot of off-computer work, which is fine, but it's going to take some thought on my part to figure out how I might relay the information. As Pooh would say, "Think, think, think..."


Ok. I've got it.

First off, this once again deals with my characters from my NaNoWriMo idea, so this will be a closer insight into my project. :) Speaking of which, the plan is, over the next 2 weeks, I will be posting character profiles from my story, and I'd love to get your insight. Expect those over the next 2 weeks. Wahoo!

Secondly, I'm just going to list the questions I've asked myself alongside the answers with which this exercise has provided me. After that, I'll fill you in on which questions inspired the answer for which. Ah, confusing... Just read the post, and it will make sense... I think? The questions I ask, however, are a little vague, so if you don't know what I'm talking about that's ok. I don't want to give away too much!!

Question #1: Does she return to her old life at the end of it all? (Inspired by question 3) An image of a smiley face popped into my head. That's not a yes or no!! hehe
Question #2: How does her mother regain sanity by the end? (Inspired by question 2) Another vague mental picture of an iris blossom.
Question #3: What does her discovery change in her life? (Inspired by question 5) This one made me laugh. I closed my eyes, and the clip of Gaston falling from the Beast's mansion played in my mind's eye. I wonder how this would apply to the changes in her life... Interesting...
Question #4: What does he do with his cut? (Inspired by question 1) The picture of a happy family flashed in my brain.
Question #5: How does the Captain survive / not survive in the end? (Inspired by question 4) Stitches, thread, needle...

I have no idea what my answers mean right now. I think they will require a couple of days to sort through, honestly. Maybe the answers will only make sense as I write during November. Who knows? We'll see.

Either way, this was a fun exercise. You should try it! :)


P.S. Saw Zombieland last night after church rehearsal. Will post review tomorrow.


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