Friday, August 3, 2012

Plugging characters into social media

Ever wonder what a status update by Harry Potter, Katniss Everdeen or Gollum would say? (Okay, Gollum is easy: my precioussssss!)

While I was conducting observations at a local high school, I was able to experience the characters of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter from a whole new dimension: Facebook! The teacher required the students to create profile pages for the major characters that imitated the layout and options of the social media site. Their finished product included instant message conversations, status updates, pictures, notes, and interests, etc.

I believe that plugging characters into a modern social media setting is a valuable creative writing exercise. It allows me, as the writer, to "flesh out" my character via a familiar format, one I have already used to profile myself. Undoubtedly, there will be more information included in the profile than will ever be included in the actual story, but the format offers an intriguing and current method to delve into the psyche of my characters!

For example, the protagonist of my MG fairytale might create a profile containing info something like this . . .

Status update: I wonder what the first human I meet will look like? I'm not asking for a prince, but a knight errant would be nice . . .

Contact information: Silver basin by moonlight

Political views: Mortals are our friends

Relationship status: It's complicated.

Subscriptions: Hokum's Cures for 101 Common Curses

Favorite quotations:

"Courage is the best magic"-Erica Jong

"Who never lost, are unprepared
A Coronet to find!"
-Emily Dickinson

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