Image by wili_hybrid via FlickrSo I was reading this afternoon in NaNo for the New and the Insane, by Lazette Gifford (I'm planning on using NaNoWriMo this year to force a first draft), and she's talking about interviewing your characters. She includes a link to a cute mock interview that Valery Comer posted on Vision. That seemed cool.
Then this afternoon, Rebecca O'Connor posted a link to an essay she'd written for The Daily Rumpus, in which she describes sitting in her closet with the door shut and putting a (not loaded) gun in her mouth to see what it would be like.
I'm not willing to go that far.
But I have been chatting with Bill on and off this afternoon, in between sessions, and it's been fascinating. For one thing, he sits on the couch in my office leaning forward, with his elbows on his knees, hands lightly clasped between them. He looks at his hands when he talks, looking up from under heavier eyebrows than I'd thought he'd have. He has a complicated relationship with his father, Anderson, which I got some glimpses into. Anderson tends to be a bit critical, but respects Bill now because of his war service. And he reminded me that I do know what it is like to be shot at, and so I won't have to work as hard as I'd thought to imagine what it would be like going into battle.
Although technically I wasn't the one being shot at, I was close enough once for research purposes, thank you very much, and I remember afterward being surprised at the smallness of the space I had been able to hide in. So yeah. I think I can write pretty authoritatively about the urge to make oneself as small--not to say invisible--a target as possible.