Make Your Characters Talk to You Again

Posted on Jul 7, 2014 by   16 Comments | Posted in Blog · Uncategorized

Author Elaine Calloway

Author Elaine Calloway


Ever have one of those days?

As writers, you know the kind. The ones where the “gel” of the story just won’t come together and our characters won’t “stand out” on the page?

We all have, trust me, and I wanted to share a tip (a writing exercise, if you will) that helps your characters start talking and showing their motivations again.

Put them in jail. Literally. Write a basic scene with your characters stuck in jail for something they did not do. Then have fun with it.

Does one of them pull out a nail file and begin trying to saw through the jail bars, utterly insulted they are in a jail cell in the first place? Does one of them simply shrug and then take a well-needed nap? Perhaps a few of them start cooperating, developing plans to burrow a tunnel to freedom?

There are endless possibilities, and being in jail may or may not work as part of your actual manuscript, but I’ll tell you one thing. Your characters won’t be silent anymore. You might even see how each one reacts; gain an insight into their motivation that you never knew was there before.

Every time I was stuck, this exercise has worked. The writing is meant to be an exercise, so don’t focus on getting every word right and polished; focus on learning more about your characters. Let creativity and spontaneity flow.Elaine Calloway elemental

Good luck!


Elaine Calloway writes paranormal/fantasy tales about Elementals, Fallen Angels, Ghosts, and everything in between. When she is not putting her characters in jail, she is busy finishing The Elemental Clan Series, a good vs. evil series featuring Elementals fighting to save humanity from Fallen Angels, who wish to reap every soul in their path.
Originally from New Orleans, Elaine grew up with a love of all things paranormal and can still do a Cajun accent upon request. Connect with her online at Follow Elaine on Twitter, Follow Elaine on Facebook.


16 Responses to "Make Your Characters Talk to You Again"

  1. Comment by Atalie Andressen
    July 7, 2014 12:01 pm

    Thanks for this tip. What I did was put my character in a tomb in St Vincent de Paul Cemetery & worked out how she gets out.

  2. Comment by marymarvella
    July 7, 2014 12:13 pm

    It sounds like a wonderful and fun exercise! I like to do entries in a journal from a character’s youth. I get into a character’s head by looking at sad or special days and let characters write about them. Characters might lie to themselves and to me, but they don’t let me lie in their journals.

  3. Comment by Terry Poca
    July 7, 2014 1:43 pm

    Hi Elaine:

    Thanks for the writing tip on getting tight-lipped characters to loosen up. I plan to lock-up a few, who do not have Get Out Of Jail Free Cards, as soon as I hit submit!!

    Happy writing,

  4. Comment by Elaine Calloway
    July 7, 2014 4:06 pm


    Love your idea! That works too, as long as the characters are talking!


  5. Comment by Elaine Calloway
    July 7, 2014 4:06 pm

    Mary & Terry –

    Thanks for stopping by! Hope the characters talk well to both of you! Thx!


  6. Comment by Linsey Lanier
    July 7, 2014 7:25 pm

    Great tip! I’ll have to try it.

    Thanks, Elaine!

  7. Comment by Meda White
    July 8, 2014 11:08 am

    Great advice, Elaine. It’s fun to see what our characters do in tough situations.

  8. Comment by MJ Flournoy
    July 9, 2014 12:12 am

    Great idea, I’m going to put my characters in jail and then liste to them complain!

  9. Comment by Carol Burnside / Annie Rayburn
    July 9, 2014 1:53 pm

    I’ve never tried jail. Diaries/journal and letters to/from family members have helped in the past. I’ll have to remember this one. Thanks!

  10. Comment by Ashley Ladd
    September 4, 2014 3:33 pm

    Great tip. Thanks

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