Well, time for the latest installment from me. This week sees us moving towards the end of the workshop sessions and on to the mentoring. There are still some mentoring spaces available at some of the locations so if you are now beginning to think you might want to have the chance of some one-to-one feedback on your competition entry just ring the library where you would like to have your mentoring and they can let you know what times are available. And don’t forget that if you are doing some mentoring it is really important that you EMAIL your story to me about a week before your session so I can have chance to read it and type up some comments for us to discuss. You will get your work returned to you, via email, with these comments to help you with ongoing redrafts etc. If you can’t do this (or forget to) then you are still very welcome to attend your booked session and we can talk over your ideas more generally with me perhaps reading some crucial scenes in your piece and giving you some feedback during the slot. If you haven’t had the chance to pick up one of my cards with my email address then you can contact me to email your story through my website www.trywriting.co.uk
Try Writing is the website of Teesside author Tracey Iceton. As well as including information on her own work Try Writing is a place for aspiring writers.
And on the theme of developing your stories last week I began to post up some of the material from the workshops to help those of you who haven’t been able to attend. I plan to continue doing this over the remaining blogs (which will continue until the comp. deadline 30TH SEPT!) so this week a little bit more guidance on developing characters and next week something on plotting your story.
Characters can be developed through:
- What they do
- What they say
- Their physical appearance
- How they contrast with other characters
- Their mannerism, traits and personality
- How they fit into the world of the story (contextualisation)
- Their thoughts, revealed through interior monologue
Remember the golden rule of ‘show, don’t tell’. Consider these two examples:
He walked with a shuffling movement. His eyes were half closed in a squint and he looked cruel. He had yellow teeth that were badly decayed. His smile was sickening. His hands were filthy and his breath smelled foul.
He shuffled forwards, squinting wickedly at me. Drawing back his lips in the most sickening smile, he displayed teeth yellowed with age and neglect. He extended a filthy paw and grasped my hand. Leaning forwards as he did so, he sent me reeling with disgust at the foul stink of his breath.
The ‘showing’ example works by keeping the action going while describing the characters.
Now do one of the following writing exercises, making sure you ‘show’:
Write the scene in which your readers first meet your character
Write a short piece of dialogue for your character
Write some interior monologue for your character
Put your character in a difficult situation and write what happens
Write the scene in which your protagonist first meets his/her antagonist
Good luck with this. Keep writing!