Thursday, 26 March 2020

#writingishard7 - characters

So much has changed in two weeks. When I wrote my blog two weeks ago, we were not in lockdown. People weren’t fighting over loo rolls. How quickly life can change as we start living in
our dystopian fiction. I could imagine telling a student their story was too far fetched if they’d presented me with this idea!

I thought this week we’d talk about characters. Characters inhabit your story and need to be fully rounded so that your reader can empathise with them. You will have protagonists and antagonists. All of whom will need to have flaws, wants and needs. It is important to remember that any decision that the antagonist makes will be the right decision for them to make at that particular moment even if it is going to cause problems for the protagonist.

When you create characters you automatically think about the basics. You think about hair colour, eye colour etc etc. I often search for images of people that I think look like my character. I then keep
writing letters
them in a closed Pinterest board that only I can access. It helps me visualise them and as a reminder. I also write a letter from my character to me introducing themselves. It is a way of getting inside their heads.

When writing Flight, I learnt to look at the relationships surrounding the main character and for me, I suddenly realised that Jakob was only surrounded by males including the horses, which were stallions. It was only when Kizzy came on the scene that he had anything to do with women. This was really important as I needed him to be unsure how to behave in front of a girl, clumsy and almost threatened by the situation. It was one of his flaws. You need to be aware of the flaws as it those that make them fully rounded characters and not flat, two-dimensional characters.

Getting to know your characters inside out means you will know how your character will react in any given situation. It needs to be a realistic and appropriate reaction. In an extreme situation (and you do have to be brave to do this) I have gone out pretending to be my character to see what it would feel like. How would they view the world? It is about writing the height. How would the world appear to them? Important if you are writing a ten-year-old character or a fourteen-year-old character. The world is going to feel very different from the world that you see. The other thing you can think about is what would be in their pocket always? Their phone? A pebble? Sweets? Intriguing idea.

During this lockdown perhaps take this time to get to your know all your characters intimately so you
Social distancing
will know automatically know how they would react in any situation without having to think about it. Have some fun with it.

Stay at home. Stay Safe.

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