My blog was later than usual this week so here is an extra post to warm us up for the writing weekend…
We’re travelling deep into the hidden furrows of your characters’ hearts and memories now so it’s time for a breather before we go even deeper. Let’s look around at the places in your story where your characters eat, sleep, work, suffer, celebrate and love.
Your draft flows more quickly, more consistently if you get to know those places early in your writing. Most important of all, find out how your characters feel about them.
This is about more than location: what are the colours, smells, textures and sounds that tell us about your character and are significant for your story? What is the atmosphere in each place? How does the air move there? Is it warm or cold, stuffy or clear-headed, does it bring a taste to the mouth? Does it bring memories? Above all, does your character want to be there? Why? If not, where would they rather be and why?
- Let’s start at home. Using your scribble-chat technique, let your character invite you to where s/he lives and show you, a room at a time, their kitchen, sofa, bathroom, garden/ view from the rooms, bedroom, bed and so on. Robert Graves’ kitchen in Mallorca is below – I loved that place.
- How does your character describe her/his bed. Tracey Emin was right, you’ll learn a lot.
- Let’s move on to day to day travel – how does your character usually get around? Ask your character to describe her/his car, bike, route to work etc.
- From there, it’s easy to lead the scribble-chat to your character’s work place. We spend vast chunks of our lives at work and have a wide range of feelings and reactions to it.
- What does your character do in spare time? Find out about their gym, choir room and so on.
- Can you think of other places that are important to your character? Friends’ and relatives’ homes, for example. Worship spaces. Places to socialise.
- Where is your character’s favourite place in all the world, real or imaginary?
Different characters will see the same places differently of course and that’s always fun.
As usual, this is just exploration. You could have another go next week and find yourself up to the eyes in different answers. That’s great! You can choose what excites you most and works best for your characters and your story. Above all, you are immersing yourself more and more in your characters and their world, letting your writing flow, and getting closer to a deeply imagined, consistent draft.
On Sunday we move to Stage 4 – where is your plot’s engine? See you then!