Interview Your Character(s) – A Guide to Development

I touched on this earlier this year but want to go into a few more details. For long term projects such as novels, I have always found it a good idea to set up a mock interview to develop my characters. It always helps to flesh them out beyond words on a page and sometimes asking slightly difficult questions, even completely unrelated to the story, may help develop them as a person and shape their direction within the narrative. This is especially helpful when you get stuck with character development and suffer that dreaded writer’s block. Continue reading

Character Growth: The Life Blood of Your book

As I look back over some of the books I have read, films and TV I have seen, I find that the characters who stick most in my mind are those who undergo the most profound change – and not necessarily for the better. I realise then that as much as I like to switch off when it comes to absorbing creative work of others, I can really appreciate a work more if I watch and appreciate the character as he/she reacts to what is going on around them. Continue reading

Motivation and Character: X-Men’s Trask

I finally saw X-Men: Days of Future Past yesterday and thought it was awesome. I expected it to be the final instalment in a series that lasted twelve years and seven films with a few that never came to pass (the Origins spin-off series faltered with Wolverine yet what we got in its place – First Class – handled a number of origins story lines really well). I was pleased however, to see that there is an after credits clip featuring a character known as Apocalypse. My X-Men loving friends have told me that this represents all sorts of mind-blowing coolness and I am looking forward to seeing where the future of this film series now lies. Continue reading

Tips for Building Characters: People Watching

On Sunday, I posted a short vignette about the experiences of the people around you when you are at a mass transit terminal. I used a railway station as an example but it could easily apply to large bus stations and airports, or these days anywhere you might see a large group of people – you may get a similar experience at a food court at a large shopping centre. A food court may also be far more conducive to overhear conversation that you might build a story around. Continue reading

Which Female Characters Most Appeal to Me?

The Guardian has asked male readers to send pictures of them reading books featuring female characters that they admire to counteract claims that boys don’t like reading about girls. I beg to differ, personally. Off the top of my head I can think of at least five spectacular admirable female characters in fiction. I have written character features of at least three of them (though one of them is not from a book or film and is a deeply flawed character with a horrific past to make up for). So who are they? Those I have already written about I have linked to the character study for more detail. Continue reading

Snippet Sunday 13/4/14

Obsession is the theme of today’s postaday and it’s apt for the snippet I want to post today. Obsession can drive us to experience some powerful emotions and often there is no greater obsession than what the heart wants and cannot have. I’m sure most if not all of us have been there at some stage in our lives. My character Valens whom so far I have portrayed as lovable rogue, womaniser and playboy has an obsession – and it is going to surprise you. Continue reading

Snippet Sunday 16/3/14

Last week you met Olesia the 20-something, half-British, half-Portuguese queen of a future-medieval Britain as she met a cousin she hadn’t seen in almost two decades. The two will fall in love though as you could see from the humour they shared, it’s going to be more along the lines of Benedick and Beatrice than Romeo and Juliet. Today, I want to introduce you to that book’s protagonist, the assassin who in the first book was supposed to be a secondary character but soon took on a life of his own. This is the moment from the first book when we start to realise that there are some great depths to this assassin…
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Snippet Sunday 16/2/14

I had a revelation this week about the foul-mouthed, foul-tempered Tertius Severus Nero and why he is the way he is. Last weekend I wrote a scene where he scaled a building to reach an upper floor to see his dying father and explain on his return he would “become a better son”. Here is the first indication we get about his character. It is not pretty and at first glance he is the sort of person you want to avoid but I was determined to make him a sympathetic character. Read this part and see the discussion afterwards. Continue reading

Creating Characters: Providing Motivation

Pictures of gladiators – just for the hell of it.

This completes a trilogy of posts about characterisation related to the project I expect to be working on next year – a novel about a group of 1st century Roman gladiators sent on a secret mission for Emperor Vespasian. The other two here and here were about creating chemistry between characters.
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Creating Chemistry Between Characters Part 2

Now that I have firmly established the growing rapport and conflicts between my gladiators, it is time to look a little more in depth at the developing relationships between the men. The six of them are going on a very long trip so naturally, as with any “enclosed” space (because you don’t need a cabin to experience cabin fever) there will be the all too familiar pattern of the foundation of alliances… and conflicts. Continue reading