Saturday, June 12, 2010

Out of My Mind

It's easy to think the world understands what you're thinking and experiencing. When I say "Chicago suburbs," I have a clear picture of exactly what that means. And if you live in a Chicago suburb, you do, too. (Though your suburb and mine might be somewhat different.) But if you're writing a book, you have to remember that most people do not live where you do. You have to provide details, even if the setting is something you might take for granted. And more importantly, the details you choose to include must be details your character would notice.

You need to get out of your mind and into your character's. Then, take a look around.

This week, I've been lucky enough to have a house guest who has never been to Chicago or the Chicago suburbs before. So I've been doing all kinds of Chicago things with her, and I've loved noticing the things she notices.

Like that some of our streets are paved like big sidewalks. And that Lake Michigan is way bigger than most lakes. It looks more like an ocean. And that deep dish pizza has the tomato sauce on top of the cheese, not below it. Even revolving doors are new experiences for our guest. If you've never been through a revolving door before, you might not know how fast to move your feet or how hard to push the door. A busy revolving door is almost like jumping in to Double Dutch jump rope!

Here are my kids plus our guest, sitting on the ledge of the Willis Tower (Sears Tower),
103 floors above the city!

And for those of you who know I have a fear of heights (or rather of falling from said heights), here I am, being brave!

And speaking of settings, my kids will all soon be heading to their favorite place on earth... sleepaway camp! If you've got kids heading to camp, check out my guest blog entry over at Sheila Glazov's blog. Sheila is the author of What Color is Your Brain? After looking at her descriptions of brain colors and types, I have hereby determined my brain is a rainbow. What's yours?

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