By the title I’d say most people expect me to write about characters first then development and launch into whatever is currently niggling. Right?
I’m going to start with the niggles so I can move on and end the blog on a positive note (as per the norm). So what is bothering the writerly world of Kerry today? Well in all honesty they’re mostly minor and not directly affecting me. Except this cold and cough, that’s affecting me but I’ll move on from that 🙂 One niggle of the moment is the introduction of bedroom tax by this oh so wonderful government (note the sarcasm). While it doesn’t directly affect me, it affects my mum greatly. Mum lives in a 3 bed semi with her disabled husband, and has her disabled son come to visit weekly, and stay over on the odd occasion such as Xmas. Mum and Dad often can’t sleep together due to his disabilities so two bedrooms is required. Also the house is adapted for disabled living and mum has put in her own touches such as fire, pond/landscaping, driveway etc. In their infinite wisdom it’s been decided that as Michael doesn’t actually live there he has no rights to be able to use the toilet, or sleep over, and that Dad isn’t on the tenancy agreement so his disabilities won’t be taken into account! I’m here watching my mum and dad get insanely stressed out believing the council are trying to force them out of their home, despite the obvious indications above that they’re in the right place. Don’t get me wrong, I agree with bedroom tax within reason as long as the obvious exceptions are made – I wouldn’t expect to live in a three bedroomed home if it was just me for example, not when there are families needing a bigger house. But it’s hard to comprehend how the government can implement something affecting so many people country-wide and not take individual cases into consideration! Naturally I realise they are starting to adapt and do this but it’s a very slow process and in the meantime the country’s family’s are incurring unnecessary stress and heartbreak!
Ok – rant over – it’s been bugging me all week seeing mum so down and worried about it all.
So moving on now to characters and development.
It may have been noticed by those of you who follow my facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/K-A-Richardson/117179681794105) that I have been really getting into my characters this last week. Sub plots have emerged that I had no idea were even there until they appeared! It’s been a fantastic week this week, resulting in some 5000 plus words being written – if only every week could be this way! I have had six days off from my day job though which definitely helped matters. I found myself extremely focussed and intent on getting to know Ben and Jacob even more than I already did. I actually have an interview scheduled (EEK – excellent word use Helen Anderson!) with an ex-paratrooper on Monday to go over some finer points of Jacobs character – so exciting to analyse him in such depth and gain an understanding of what makes him tick. Aoife (Ben’s aunt) has also really come into her own and we are learning more about the bad guy with every page. Someone once asked me what is the most important thing to remember when building a character – the answer to this, to me anyway, is simple. The character has to be a real person. If you just write a character without knowing what upsets and challenges then, what makes them smile, what makes them want to live their lives the way they do, you will end up with a 2D representation of something that has no reality about it. Imagine if your best friend didn’t laugh with you, cry with you, and understand you – they probably wouldn’t be your best friend right? It’s exactly the same when preparing characters. Through the book, as you write, they grow and you learn even more about them, getting to know them. When I finished writing With Deadly Intent, for the first couple of weeks after I felt a little lost. I had gotten to know Cass and Alex so well that they formed part of my thinking on a daily basis, and moving away from that was quite hard. I also found it equally hard getting into Ben and Jacob’s minds when I first started book 2 – it has already been redrafted now though and they’re both wonderful people – with flaws of course!
As to the development side, it’s safe to say I’ve been multi tasking this week! I’ve been keeping on top of social media and chatting to other authors, finding inspiration in random things seen such as a quote on twitter posted by someone, written by Buddha – it quite fits with what I’ve been saying earlier – “Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike: each has their suffering. Some suffer too much and others not enough.” My poor mum is one of the ones who suffers too much – if I could I’d fix it all and just let her have happiness. Who knows, one day maybe I will be able to.
I’ve also been writing book 2 (whose title is eluding me at present – any suggestions around the theme of watching or seeing gratefully received via the comment on this post section!) and editing With Deadly Intent, as well as keeping on top of the boring stuff such as housework. It’s things like this though that keep me focussed. I want to be at least half way through book 2 when I approach agents with book 1 – Baring in mind I only really started writing book 2 around the start of February, I have done really well in the last 6-7 weeks getting to 24000 words whilst editing! I am feeling very much like the cat that got the cream.
So the week ahead? Well obviously there’s the interview – which will result in further character development, then there’s the dreaded day job for six whole days (gah – interrupting my writing time!) but I shall most definitely keep on top of my writing, and hopefully finish the latest Baldacci novel, The Forgotten, which is fantastic also!
Hope you all have a fantastic week – and as always, thanks for reading. x