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Children's Writer Laurie Calkhoven, author of Michael at the Invasion of France, 1943, and other books.

Today's Write The Book Prompt was suggested by my guest, Laurie Calkhoven, who likes working on character meditations in preparation for writing. So that is your prompt for the week: meditate on your character. Begin with a simple breathing meditation, for five or ten minutes, to relax. Then picture your character walking toward you. As you imagine your character getting close enough to sit on your shoulder, ask yourself a question about the character. Laurie keeps a collection of index cards on her desk with prepared prompts for this purpose. She says the element of surprise helps keep the meditation spontaneous, so she shuffles her index cards and keeps them face down on her desk until she needs one. Then she turns one over, not letting herself see what it says before doing so. One example of what might be written on a card: your character has something in his hand; what is it? That's how she came to include a newspaper for Michael and Jacques to use in their covert activities in France. Here are a few more ideas for questions to put on your index cards: What is your character wearing? How does he walk? Does your character have any particular expression on her face? Why? What might she be reacting to? Who is your character going to meet up with and what will be the first thing he says to that person? Now you make up some of your own and try the full exercise.

Good luck with this prompt, and please listen next week for another!

Music credits: 1) "Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) "Filter" - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several former South Burlington High School students).

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  • Marnie Brookis

    I LOVE this…what a great prompt to delve into your characters. I also like the idea of making up random questions for different characters as well. And thank you for this insightful interview on your podcast. I’m a fan of Laurie Calkhoven and her books. If you ever have a chance to attend one of her workshops at conferences or festivals you’ll come away with useful tools and inspiration!

    Apr 16, 2012 at 10:25 am
  • writethebook

    Thank you for your comment, Marnie. I’m so glad you enjoyed Laurie’s interview and prompt!

    ~ S.

    Apr 16, 2012 at 10:33 am
  • Barbara

    Laurie has taught me many things about writing over the years, and this is another great suggestion. Very useful and usable! Very cool prompt.

    Apr 16, 2012 at 6:10 pm
  • Debbie Dadey

    Really enjoyed listening!

    Apr 18, 2012 at 7:45 am