Structure

I recently found these character interview suggestions. A useful way of getting to develop and getting to know the characters you’re writing. It’s given me some structure to my character planning and has helped me to think more deeply about who it is I want in my story. My characters are now on their way to being well-rounded and quirky, no longer just names on a page.

  1. Name:
    What do they like about their name:
    What does their name mean to them:

  2. Background:
    Birthday:
    Place of birth:
    Parents:
    What was important to the people who raised them?
    Siblings:
    Economic status growing up:
    Ethnic background:
    Places lived:
    Current address and phone number:
    Education:
    Favourite subject in school:
    Special training:
    Jobs:
    Salary:
    Travel:

  3. Friends:
    Who they live with:
    Who they fight with:
    Who they spend time with:
    Who depends on them and why:
    Who admires them:
    How do others see them:
    Who are their enemies:

  4. Dating:
    Single or married

  5. Overall outlook on life:
    Religion:
    Do they like themselves:
    What would they change about their life:
    What demons do they have:
    Are they lying to themselves:
    Are they an optimist or a pessimist:
    Are they real or feigned:
    What is their morality level:
    What is their confidence level:

  6. Typical day:
    Physical appearance:
    Physical build:
    Posture:
    Head shape:
    Eyes:
    Nose:
    Mouth:
    Hair:
    Skin:
    Tattoos, piercings, scars:
    Voice:
    Clothing:
    What do people notice first:
    How would they describe themselves:

  7. Health:
    Disabilities or handicaps:

  8. Characteristics:
    Personality type:
    Strongest character trait:
    Weakest character trait:
    How can their strongest trait be a weakness:
    How much self-control and self-discipline do they have:
    What makes them angry:
    What makes them cry:
    What fears do they have:
    What people, places, situations do they avoid:
    What are their talents:
    What do people like about them:

  9. Interests and favourites:
    Political views:
    Collections:
    Food and drink:
    Music:
    Books:
    Movies:
    Sport/recreational in school and now:
    Colour:
    Childhood daydreams:
    Current daydreams:
    Way to spend a weekend:
    A great gift for them:
    Pets:
    Vehicles:

  10. Typical expressions when:
    Happy:
    Angry:
    Frustrated:
    Sad:
    Afraid:
    Most used facial expression:

  11. Idiosyncrasies:

  12. Laughs at:

  13. What annoys them:

  14. How to cheer her up:

  15. Hopes and dreams and how do they see themselves accomplishing these:

  16. Worst thing they’ve done to someone:

  17. Greatest success:

  18. Biggest trauma:

  19. Biggest embarrassment:

  20. Cares about most:

  21. Secrets:
    If they could do anything, what would it be:
    They are the kind of person who…:
    What I love most about them:
    Why will the reader sympathise with her right away:

  22. How are they ordinary or extraordinary:

  23. How is their situation ordinary or extraordinary:

  24. What is their core need:

  25. What is an anecdote:

  26. Their history:

K.M. Weiland. (2011). Outlining Your Novel: Map out your way to success. PenForASword Publishing: United States of America

The Freedom of Truth

You would think I’d have had enough. All of the assignments, the lectures, the stress. Yet, I have spent all day waiting for 5pm. Not for the rest or the break away from work, but for writing.

The relief of knowing I no longer have restrictions placed on my writing to be academic, to be reflective. I can write to enjoy it, write to unwind. The joy of it, the satisfaction of the words coming together and all of it making sense in the end… I have missed it.

Life has taken over and it has taken ‘writing for pleasure’ away from me. Instead, all I have had is writing to meet the domains, to tick boxes on that ever-growing list of things that University ask of us.

I have missed this. I have missed my laptop, missed choosing the font that I want and not the font that University insists we use. All of the little things that make up the bigger ones.

I have missed the freedom of my own truth, my own words, my own self.

I welcome writing back into my life with open arms.

Until the next time.   

Relief

There is a sigh of relief,

The last of 3500 words,

The last assignment,

The end of a long 3 years.

A breath of fresh air fills the lungs,

Time for a quick rest,

Time for me,

Time to write.

30th Year

It is now, in our 30th year
That I wonder

What was any of it but just tiny little mistakes and miscommunication…?

The thoughts still run through my mind: was it me? Was there any other option?

A messed up teenager and her friend: the end…

And it really was, wasn’t it? The end.

And it was my choice. In the end. To walk away.

Shrove Tuesday

Every year, on this day I think of the time that I ate so many pancakes I was fit to burst. I remember your amazed faces as I sat and ate my 7th in a row and I remember the joy and excitement that you had about the day itself. I remember and I feel. I miss you and I hate that now all I have is a memory. It isn’t physical, it isn’t here and now, it is then and it is past. And sometimes I hate it.

In These Times of Uncertainty

I have always loved writing, loved words, loved watching films and TV and getting taken away by the people living within them.

The feeling of being engrossed, the feeling of excitement, of butterflies… I love it all.

Tonight, as I sit here with my YouTube playlist automatically playing in the background, a familiar video appears… Bad Girls: Helen Stewart. It is one I admittedly have not seen in quite some time as my Bad Girls obsession came to a natural simmer as I went from teenager to adult.

…and here lies the meaning for such a random post:

The video brought back memories and feelings. The feeling of excitement and of being so enthralled and captured by something that made me feel so alive. How can a TV show do that? It amazes me now. I very rarely get so taken in by a TV show or a film that I’m sitting there glued to the screen. This show, however, always manages to glue me.

Years after the series ended and even more years after fans said goodbye to Helen Stewart, I still wonder what it was that made us Bad Girls fans so loyal.

The show offered me such a strong feeling of meaningfulness and togetherness. Something that I very much needed when I first discovered the show in my adolescence. The struggle of identity and of seeing Helen’s passion and fire for wanting to do the right thing and to get justice for Nikki was something that caused me to feel empowered and wanting to take on the whole world.

The writing, the people, the realness… This show had it all and while things have moved on and changed over the years, this show can still hold its own.

I am not often in awe of things these days, but tonight I had that feeling of butterflies and excitement at seeing characters that I always held so dearly.

In these times of uncertainty, of lockdowns and madness, I hope you all find something to feel alive about. No matter how small or silly.

To be transported back to a time where I felt such love and admiration for the character of Helen Stewart, that she has always stayed with me. Sometimes things have no explanation and sometimes no explanation is needed.

Stay safe.

Mental Health Act reforms aim to tackle high rate of black people sectioned

Changes will ensure neither autism nor learning disabilities are grounds for detention under the actReforms to the Mental Health Act will help tackle the disproportionate number of black people sectioned, the government has announced.Black people are more than four times more likely to be detained under the act and more than 10 times more likely…

Mental Health Act reforms aim to tackle high rate of black people sectioned

New Year – New Lockdown

With all the well wishes and all of the “Happy New Year” messages that came flooding in, full of hope for a better year… I made two promises to myself: Drink more water (juice) and find ways to remain calm.

So far, so good. My ‘promises’ are not ones which can be taken away from me due to a national lockdown – which means no excuses.

I am eating fruit more, drinking less caffeinated, carbonated drinks and I have started doing Tai Chi.

Following along to some YouTube videos and feeling a bit of happiness that I am learning something new, in a time where not much of anything in the world is new, is a nice enough feeling.

Another lockdown brings with it more of the same repetitiveness that we have had since March 2020 – almost 1 full year.

But maybe we can create our own positives. Or at least try to. A little bit of Tai Chi every other day and some positive goals that I am determined to achieve is my own little way of trying to do better.

Hopefully the end is near for this Coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully some time spent doing new things (even from the mundane comfort of home) can help this year be a more positive one.