On Thursday, I quoted Barbara Poelle:
“If you’re struggling with a character, write 20 things that the reader will never know about your character. These will naturally bleed into your writing and provide a richness even though you don’t share the detail”.
I’m always encouraging my students to work on character biographies. Knowing your characters intimately will help you to bring them to life in the book itself. The wonderful Lynn Love contacted me with some great advice to build on this:
“For the book I’m currently writing, I made lists of over 100 questions each for both of my main characters, from obvious things such as what job they do and what papers they’d read to childhood memories, what sweets they’d like and what they were like at P.E at school! Most of it isn’t creeping into the novel, but it gave me a good idea from the start what they were like instead of having to write my way ‘into’ the characters as I went along as I have before. It’s like cramming years of getting to know someone into a few hours – character speed dating.
“My list of questions was pretty random – from how the MCs feel about each other to whether they prefer new Star Wars or old and whether they’d be any good as members of a pub quiz team”.
So my Monday challenge is for you to either come up with some questions for your characters (the more unusual the better!) or to write a poem/story about a character called Bob. Have fun!
Last week’s prompt was topical with bonfire night lurking round the corner so my writing prompt was for you to write a poem/piece of prose up to 300 words on the following theme:
Your piece didn’t have to be about November 5th; you could interpret the theme as you saw fit. Here are your varied pieces:
EDC Writing sent in a poem in super speedy time:
You lit the fuse
It would be rude
To be a hissing squib
As Catherine wheel’s
Her fire sparks fly
He captures each
Jason Moody was also swift to respond:
A flash and a bang
Children scream, rockets cry
The vast inky darkness
Becomes kaleidoscope sky.
Helen Gaen’s is true to life:
knots of fear – terrified dogs
cry out, quiver, shake.
Now for more of Rajiv Chopra‘s fun Mary Jane series:
The night was young, and the fireworks were starting to go off. Damn us Americans, thought The Bat, and, damn Alfred, and his British customs. Why do we have to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day? I can set off enough fireworks if I want to.
“Sir, are you aware that some believe that Guy Fawkes Day is actually an arrogation of a much older, Celtic Pagan festival called Samhain? Festivals, sir, pass on and transmogrify into new forms, even though the roots remain the same. It is a pity, sir, that we forget the roots, while seeking out new forms, and bless the Gods of modern day television. Alas, sir, Guy Fawkes Day will be taken over by that American abomination called Halloween. Samhain is forgotten, and so will Guy Fawkes Day. Which is why, sir, we must preserve what tradition we can.”
Alfred’s smiling and unctuous face peered at The Batman and Poison Ivy from above a tray filled with whisky and ice, as the two prepared for a quiet, fireworks filled evening at home.
Indeed, the fireworks were magnificent. Not so far away, The Band of Black and Red stopped their rickety little van, to gaze up at the sky, as the black ink of night was temporarily blotted away by flashes of light.
“Coo, I do love a good show, do I,” said Frodo to Sam.
“Do you remember The Wizard?” asked Sam, as he remembered the nights of celebration in the Shire just before the passing of The Third Age.
The nostalgia that was filling their hearts was rudely shattered by the Joker screaming, “Damn The Bat,” as a bat-like display of fireworks suddenly filled the sky.
“Yeah,” snarled The Spider. “Damn that Bat.”
“We have competition,” he said.
They looked grimly upwards at the sky.
Neel Anil Panicker sent in this gripping story:
COME, LIGHT MY FIRE
Tonight’s the night when it may all go up in flames. My dreams, my desires, my love, even my soul. I am in the garden, looking out at the wondrous skies, illuminated with the sounds and lights of a million projectiles.
It’s the festival of lights, the triumph of good over evil. For me too it’s an upheaval – of not just this night but for all nights to come.
Inside, on the cot, lies in wait Aslam.
He is my husband’s brother. Tonight I am to marry him.
“Aren’t you ready yet? The maulvi is due to arrive any time soon.”
That’s Fatima, my mother-in-law. Her sound bite, more declarative than interrogative.
She may be pushing the wrong end of seventies, but neither her tongue nor her hands have lost any of their razor sharp speed.
An imprint of her stout legs on my sallow cheek is proof of her prowess.
Boom, boom…bang, bang!
The decibels levels been up like this, always. This being a border village precipitates matters.
Rockets, shellings, mortars – I am used to these deafening sounds – all par for the course.
Out there, beyond the garden, around those fields, among the bushes, hides Sailesh, my lover.
In my womb, I hold his baby – our child.
My eyes scan the dark.
A strobe of light circles the magnolia flowers to my left.
It’s my cue.
I step out, careful not to trip in the dark, gingerly holding onto the ends of my bridal dress.
I don’t look back, I simply move on – to my new life, to freedom.
I am leaving behind still-born memories of my ‘husband of one night’ before he was called to war, never to return (missing, presumed dead, absconding – I just don’t care!).
Suddenly all around me bombs explode, rockets blaze up the sky.
Lost in the gun shots that follow are the crazed shrieks of my mother-in-law, soon to be ex.
The fireworks have just begun.
Geoff Le Pard has written a very strong piece. Please have a read:
Please visit Steve Walsky‘s site to read his lovely poem:
Visit Simon Farnell‘s site to read something a little different: