LIVING WITH THE CHARACTERS CONT…
I have been surprised at the response I have had to the blog I wrote, ‘Living with the Characters.’ I have had several comments and also a few emails asking for more insight to the way in which the characters were constructed and written. In response to such wonderful comments and requests I will offer the following.
As I have already stated, I did invest a great deal of time and effort into creating profiles of each of the characters that wandered through the book, For myself it was important that I could relate to them as real people, (I know it sounds odd, but hey, it works?) from my point of view it is easier to write about someone you know, I could have taken the easy route and based them all on friends, which would have given me a living example to copy. I chose to create the illusion of a person, which I think gave me the chance to allow each person within the book to develop into a very specific pattern. It is without doubt labour intensive as it means a great deal of note taking as I actually write the books, but I soon realised that as I got into book two they were developing more rounded characteristics as I wrote their interactions with the other characters of the book.
In the early days as I wrote and planned the fist books release, I also had the pleasure of being able to sit and talk with my partner and also illustrator Louis M Slater. It was important to me that Louis especially understood each of the characters, as he would have the task of creating them in the artwork we used on the books jacket, we literally took each character apart and discussed every aspect of who they were as people and how they would react to different situations. It was a series of discussions that actually allowed me for the first time to see and understand how others actually perceived each of the characters, something I am not sure many writers have the chance to do. The resulting conversations made me very aware of how real, others could and hopefully will perceive them.
It was during that time I began to look at how to normalise the living situations around each of the characters, and it was here that i began to see that although I had only added small sounds bites of village life for the characters, it was very important in the placing of each of the characters in what I refer to as a ‘Normal context.’ It does sound odd at times, but just the addition of a little gossip around the village seemed to put another dimension into the lives of the characters. Alice and Ann Kirk, revealing their thoughts and whispered comments to Agatha did help show another perception of each of the main characters and made them feel more human and real. I suppose it was the replication of real life in the situations of the characters that did indeed allow every reader to identify with each of the characters.
Looking now at the books I have written and not yet published, I can see how much of a learning curve I have been on. I have never really considered myself as a serious writer, but the facts are I am a published Author now involved with a large project. I often sense that my development as a writer has been on a parallel to my characters as they face challenges and had to deal with, well so have I. That process of learning and moving forward that all of us embark on in life is now yet again a very real feature of my own life as well as those of my characters. As the books progress the characters will be confronted with tests and trials of which they will have no other choice than to face and overcome, like ourselves they too will wander down the road of life and I am sure i will have much more debate and spend many more hours with my notes as the characters evolve.
I have taken a great deal of joy out of the process and I find that as I continue to write and get more comments and feed back, my feelings of insecurity lessen and I take more time to enjoy the whole process. These books still have the test of time to face, but to those of you to date who have had a little of the enjoyment I have had in the writing I am thankful. May Rune and the others grow ever within my pages, and I hope that all of these wonderful people created somewhere in the darkness of my mind will feel as much like family to you, as they do me.
Thank you for your comments and your support, it has been a thrill for me as a writer to see that there is some appreciation of my work….