Character building

I’m realising that the story between Madeline and Penelope that I’ve been having so much trouble with is now unfolding, albeit slowly. It appears to be one of those stories that needs to be written before you can truly get to the heart of it. Therefore, my planned word counts are helping me to explore the realtionship between these two women and although I have a rough idea of where I imagine the interactions will lead, I’m letting them do most of the telling. By allowing myself the time just to write, little nuances of their character are coming alive on the page and I seem to be subconciously weaving into the text hints of the climax that leads to their estrangement.

I’m not used to writing this way – being a planner and all. However, I generally find myself creating a scene that will fit with the story I’m trying to tell and then allow the characters to determine how it actually happens. I’m discovering that Penelope isn’t quite as refined as I hoped she’d be, and that Madeline is still struggling to meld her two desires – of being a good friend versus wanting to be a mother – which is precisely the conflict that cannot be resolved (her best friend having unknowingly adopted her child!).

I came across this way of writing through reading a blog of one of my commentors (Dan Bracewell) who, a while back, shared his approach of writing in ‘bursts’ – which was actually the first ever post of his I read. My ‘bursts’ aren’t quite as brief as his, but I’m taking the technique and molding it to my own uses: writing flashes of scenes and putting my two characters in various situations that I can hear them comment on to reveal their personalities further. I’m quite enjoying the process, and hopefully once I’ve weaved my way through enough of these short scenes to get from A to B I’ll be able to go back and link the necessary ones together to form a whole.

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2 responses to “Character building

  1. Wow. Flattered am I. Glad you found the burst idea useful. It certainly helps me. I rarely have writer’s block these days because of it and recommend it to anyone who is getting stuck.

    Boy, isn’t it fun to see your characters come alive on the page? Sometimes they do things you didn’t expect them to do! And sometimes they don’t go where you want them to go (bad, character. bad!).

    Have you thought about sharing some of your writing, Cat? Even in rough form?

    Again, thanks for the shout out!

    • It’s great to find a technique to try out from another writer and even better to realise that it works for me too!

      I’ve shared a few short stories from when I did the story-a-day challenge (that are now hidden as I’m working on a few for possible publication) – but perhaps I might share some of my Penelope-Madeline shorts for those of you out there who might be interested. I’m still getting to know them, so who knows what might happen next! lol
      Take Care, Cat

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