I'm a speculative fiction author and lifelong aspirant, struggling with motivation and craft like us all. The skills of writing, the hope and the despair are all part of the beauty of art, so here I embrace them. Here I'll share my journey, everything I learn along this arduous hike for self-discovery up Mount Everest.
Whether you're after the rants of a once frustrated student, now frustrated author, or just the sound advice of a snide Canadian, Everest by Fog is here... and now so are you.
Jayne-Marie Barker is the author of two fine novels: Distant Shadows and Beneath the Daisies. It's always great to have a guest post from someone who's clearly proven knowledge of her chops. You can find her website here: http://www.jaynemariebarker.com/. I love her idea at the end, and her overall point is superb. Implication for imagination, I like to say. See below.
Wm. Luke Everest
How well do you know the characters in the book you’re
It’s a question we rarely ask ourselves, but as writers,
we must get to know our characters inside out if we want to attain the dizzy
heights of fictional bliss.
Building a cast of fictional people in the readers’ minds
can be fun and exhilarating but it takes work and dedication.A character should appear to be a real
person, all be it existing purely in a fictional or imaginary sense.They need to have well-rounded physical
appearances, quirky mannerisms to make them unique, faults and talents,
accents, and appropriate names.
I find it helpful to create a personal history for each
character.This may or may not feature
in the story, but it adds to their personality none the less, and helps me
visualise them as real people when spinning the tale.Just because the writer knows the tiny
details about a character doesn’t necessarily mean all those minute points will
end up in the novel.
It is an interesting question, whether or not to paint
the picture of a character fully.Do
you, for instance, prefer to have a fully described individual down to hair and
eye colour, height and additional details about their personality, the way they
walk, their favourite colour, the way they react to news etc.Maybe you prefer a less precise image, their
movements likened to the slow crawl of the earth worm or their features
chiseled into focus as they strain at the keyhole…. Before any writer can effectively
draw a character in the readers mind, they need to understand their roles in
the story, and consequently, the length to which that character should stand
out from the cast.
So, I ask you, whether you are a reader or a writer, the
next time you read a book have a little think about what you know of the main
characters, and maybe one or two of the extras.It could be fun, write down what you know about each character, then
look back carefully and work out how much of this was actually given to you in
the text, and how much you’ve plucked from your own imagination….If a large portion is from your imagination
then the writer has crafted the character to perfection – they are as you
imagine them, fully formed in your own mind.Job done!