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Thoughts on Character Creation

October 20th, 2017

In real life you’ve probably at some time met someone who has become a friend. Only gradually do you get to know the person and even after months or more you may be surprised by some revelation about them.

A character in fiction will be gradually revealed but as the writer you must know your  characters fully before you start the story.

It’s a good idea to make a detailed profile of your main characters. This helps you to be consistent and to know what they would and wouldn’t do, and not to provide sudden changes in behaviour which would be out of character and unbelievable to the reader. Occasionally a sudden change may be justified, for instance, if the character has suffered some tragedy or trauma, but as the author, you should have prepared for this. Read the rest of this entry »




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What’s In A Name

August 25th, 2017

One of the most exciting things about starting a new short story is the god-like capacity you have to create any character you want. You have the power to name them, dress them, decide where they live and so on.  At least you think you do. Until, that is, you get up the next morning after an evening of inspired writing to discover that your sensible Dr David has transformed himself overnight into trendy, jeans wearing Dr Nick. After a prolonged keyboard quarrel, you give up. OK you think, if you want to be called Nick then so be it. And Marion hates her name too. Please can she be something less staid like Naomi. And while you’re at it, there’s no way she’d live in a bungalow.

It happens a lot and the interesting thing is that the characters usually know best. Some of them don’t like swearing, or curry or red shirts. Mostly I’ve given up arguing and go with the flow.

And then there are the ones who won’t go away. You finished their story months ago, but they don’t like it. Raymond for example has never forgiven me for getting him arrested for being drunk and disorderly.  It wasn’t his fault he was drunk – his wife had just left him – he wasn’t responsible for his actions and the least I could do was make it clear to the readers. So I’m rewriting it from his point of view and he’s quite pleased with it so far.

And then there’s the sad, the lonely, the overlooked. I think of them often – Mr Pollock, Joyce, Benjy and Pierre. I wonder what they are doing now that I’ve abandoned them to their respective fates. I hope they’ve found happiness. Last week one of my writing group wondered how Daniel was getting on now he’d returned from Switzerland. I wonder that too. Maybe he’ll pop up in a future story and let me know.

I hope so.

 

Christine loves writing whether it is short stories, flash fiction, plays or poetry and has been successful in a number of local, national and international competitions. She has had two short plays performed and has read her work at the Cheltenham Literature Festival and on local radio. She recently published a book of short stories on Amazon  entitled ‘The Road Ahead




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Achieving Cinematic Vision

August 11th, 2017

I am coming to the end of my course with the ‘Writers Bureau’ and I am writing a screen play for BBC TV entitled ‘Punjabi Girl’. My screen play is about a young Asian girl named Sunita who is trafficked and sold to a talented but quite disturbed musician. The biographies of the two characters provide a dichotomy of love, hate and passion. Finally after travelling the continents of Europe with an entourage of musicians and in a shocking revelation Sunita gains her freedom. Read the rest of this entry »




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Motivation in Character Creation

April 21st, 2017

Many readers will not have heard of Edgar Wallace who lived from 1875-1932, and few will have read his fiction. He was, though, the most prolific and popular author throughout his adult life in Britain and America and one of his works will be known by most people. He authored the story behind the film, King Kong, a picture which has been made four times (the latest this year) and has led to dozens of related spin-offs. Ironically he never saw the film because he died in the year before the 1933 version was released.

Wallace wrote many crime novels and stories and he once said that there were five motivations for murder: jealousy, envy, greed, despair and revenge. If you write crime stories, needless to say, your criminal must have a good motive for their actions. Are there other motives than the five suggested by Wallace? Probably, and it is worth thinking of them. One motivation not stated by Wallace is a character which rarely appeared in early 20th century crime stories – the psychopathic serial killer – and this character has become common in more recent crime fiction. The psychopath’s motivation is more to do with intrinsic evil than the motives cited by Wallace. Read the rest of this entry »




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Creative Characterisation

November 28th, 2016

reading-blogFirst, thanks to Colin for last week’s blog. As he points out, there really is nothing new under the sun and today we’re still following the same ‘rules’ as writers were centuries ago. And they’re still helping us to write successful and gripping stories.

Long after readers have forgotten many other features of your book or short story, it will be your characters who will live on in their minds.  And the stronger, the more striking your characters are, the more memorable they’ll be.

So, here are some tips for ensuring that your characters are unforgettable. Read the rest of this entry »




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