Home » Creativity » Clone Me Maybe

Clone Me Maybe

It was warm in the bed this morning and I really didn’t want to crawl out, but I had to because work and this–my blog.  Well, really, more the the blog, because all work is good for is paying the bills.  It’s not like I get any kind of stimulation from it other than the exercise walking to and from the local.

If you were here yesterday you’ll know I had a bit of a meltdown Wednesday night.  If you’re here today, you’ll know things are much better.  These things happen, and this one happened in part to a combination of situations that brought up a bunch of bugaboos in my head.  Yes, that is a technical term, so you can trust me.  Your mind can kill you, and mine has done of good job of trying that for–oh, maybe fifty years now?

The walk to work was refreshing.  The morning was bright and quiet, I didn’t feel bad, I was taking in the fresh air, and I had the song Borderline running in my head.  Why?  Because I’d picked it up after reading something on one of the blogs I follow, and that’s how I role with the earworm.

But this tune got me thinking, and by the time I rolled into work I had a question that needed answering.  So I shot it off to my beta reader and Trusty Editor(tm):  what is the soundtrack of Annie’s life?  What music defines her?  This I had to know, because I was getting my inner Tatiana on–

Allow me to explain.

Though I didn’t pick it up on the first run, I am a big fan of the show Orphan Black.  (And you should be, too, but that’s a different story.)  It’s the story about a lovely lady who discovers she’s really a bunch of lovely ladies, one of a batch of clones born in 1984.  She leans this when one of her clones takes The Big Dive right in front of her, and Sarah, the clone the story revolves around, ends up taking over that woman’s life.  And in the process he discovers she’s also a soccer mom living in the same city, and an American student, and a German rocker, and a crazy Ukrainian bitch who wants to kill everyone, and . . . well, it just goes on and on.

One of the things the main actress, Tatiana Maslany, does to get into the character of the women she’s playing was to create playlists of songs for each character.  So when she’s getting made up for Sarah, she listens to The Clash, Dizzee Rascal, and the Streets; when she’s Helena’s it’s Antony and the Johnsons and Tom Waits; Cosima is Grimes and electro/Diplo music, and Alison is show tunes, Les Miz and West Side Story.  She puts on the music and gets into the grove, and that’s what allows her to play three different people all sitting around wondering what they’re going to do with their lives.

If the three people sitting around getting hammered on wine are all you, do you get wasted that much faster?

If the three people sitting around getting hammered on wine are all you, do you get wasted that much faster?

When I had the chance I role played out a scene between Annie and Kerry, one that I’d written back in November and was told was lacking something–namely, Annie didn’t feel right.  Since I used to role play a lot–and most of that almost meant I was the game mistress–I’m good at doing different characters because I had to be.  So that came into play, and by the time I arrived back at the apartment, I had a good idea about the interaction.

Then the email came, and I had three tunes, and the first one, I was told, was probably the best one to describe Annie meeting Kerry for the first time in person.  (I’ll leave that “in person” dangling here . . .)  So I started rewriting, taking my time, getting things the way I thought they should . . .

And when my editor came on and read the part I’d finished, she was like, “You got it!”  She loved the new action, and the new Annie.

I’ve been tired and under a lot of strain the last few months, and it’s shown in my writing.  A lot of adverbs need to go bye-bye, so they gotta go.  But I need to relearn things, to be more descriptive, to roll back into the role playing, get it out there more.

My characters are different, but they aren’t their own real people.  They are me, and I have to live them.

Otherwise they’ll never have a life of their own.

12 thoughts on “Clone Me Maybe

  1. That is precisely why I have a play list. Also I sometimes feel like an actor playing out scenes. ( shhh don’t tell anybody). Lately I struggle with my heroine, (she is so stubborn) sigh….. women, lol.

  2. Here’s another method I’ve used, that can be just as effective… try it sometime: When you create a character, choose an actor/actress in a certain role to play them in your head. You can either choose a role that actor has played, say, Bogart as Sam Spade; or choose a role as you imagine an actor would play, say, Bacall as Lois Lane.

    Turns out it’s easy to see your actor/characters act out your scenes in your head as you write. And as the method tends to lend a visual element to your characters, it can often provide visual clues about the characters’ expressions, stance or other physical reaction to stimuli that can help provide additional color to the story.

  3. That is why I love having music with my stories. I didn’t used to use music. I found it too distracting. But… by the time I was where I am now in Mo Thuras, I seriously could play the music really quietly in the background while I write! I now try to create a playlist for each story. Just to get me “in the zone” at the very least. I write in the first person, so most of the music is based on the main character, or they remind me of the story overall, or maybe even the situations in the story. All in all, I think music has helped me create something more in my stories! Loved the post!!!

    • I got into writing with music on early on, but I really need to throw on a couple of albums and get into the grove, or throw on something live that’s gonna play for a couple of hours. I love doing that. And getting a tune for your character is a good way to define them, too.

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