Facebook – and Chandler’s Ford Today
I always enjoy writing my CFT posts but tonight’s one, The Benefits of a Good Writing Conference, was particularly nice to do.
There are several pictures from the recent #Swanwick70 in there and many thanks to #GeoffParkes for kind permission to use some of the many fantastic pics he took. My favourite from the ones I’ve used is that of me reading from From Light to Dark and Back Again at the Prose Open Mic but I admit freely I am not exactly unbiased here!
Looking forward to #Swanwick71 already.
Facebook – From Light to Dark and Back Again
Another fantastic element to writing flash fiction is that you can literally write stories set in a fanastic setting and then come right back down to earth again with a setting in the every day.
You can have alien characters (and I do!) and poignant character studies. One of my favourites from the latter category is They Don’t Understand which shows in a couple of hundred words or so the lives of two elderly people as one reflects on what they both went through during the war years and beyond.
What I’m looking to do here is have the right character for the impact I want to make on the reader and that will dictate both the mood of the story and often its setting as well.
Image Credit: Many thanks to #GeoffParkes for kind permission to use the image of me reading from From Light to Dark and Back Again at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School Prose Open Mic night. Also all credit to him for the fantastic group photos celebrating #Swanwick70.
Also thanks to #CherylHolland for using my phone to take the wonderful group pic of friends and I having a laugh on the lawn at Swanwick. (It wasn’t the only laugh that week, far from it!!). Am I missing being at Swanwick? You bet..
Fairytales With Bite – Fairytale A to Z Part 3
On to part 3:-
G = Greatness. Whether your character is a godmother (of the fairy variety), a villain, or a hero/heroine, there should be some greatness about them to make them memorable characters. Greatness can be in the form of intelligence (the villain perhaps), moral integrity, actions undertaken etc. There should be something about your characters that resonates with the readers (even if it is just understanding of where the villain is coming from in terms of attitude and behaviour while at the same time not agreeing with it). There is greatness behind whatever resonates here.
H = Humour. Humour is wonderful in a story. It can provide moments of light relief. It can show up attributes of a character that would not come out necessarily in any other way. (Perhaps a character’s wit here could show a good grasp of irony that they might use in a different way later in the story to bamboozle their opponents? Quick thinking and humour often go hand in hand and the former is usually vital for a character wanting to get out of a tight spot).
I = Imagination. How imaginative are your characters in dealing with others, making their plots succeed, using others to achieve their ends etc? Do they need to plan things out thoroughly or can they be intuitive? How do they handle matters when things go wrong? Can they use their imaginative skills to correct the situation?
This World and Others – Unwinding Your Characters
I find being in the company of writers from all genres, as I was when I was at the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School recently, to be a great way to unwind. I talk about other benefits of good writing conferences in my latest CFT post – The Benefits of a Good Writing Conference.
But this led me to wonder about how characters unwind. When your characters are in the thick of the action, what favourite memories of special places and people help motivate them to keep going and get through it all? I always loved the Rivendell sequences in The Lord of the Rings. (This for me is where the films were particularly fantastic, being able to visualise Rivendell like that). Just ahead of the quest, Frodo particularly needed that time there. So what do your characters need to prepare them for whatever hell you are going to put them through (all in the name of entertaining fiction of course!)?
Knowing what really makes your characters tick will enable you, as the writer, to know what will spur them on, what will discourage them, what is the right way to motivate them etc. A really well written villain in your stories will do exactly the same and tweak the strings of your lead like an evil puppetmaster. Result? A villain worthy of your hero/heroine. Drama. Conflict. Story, story, story! What’s not to like about that?