The plot versus character debate has raged for years – i.e which is most important. Personally, I always felt they were on equal footing but I’ve since realised that I haven’t been putting my belief into practice. When writing my short stories, I have been putting all my focus on storylines rather than the characters. I guess it is more difficult to develop characters for short stories; after all, the reader is not going to stick with them for long. However, I learned a lesson from an unlikely source. I have been reading the authorised biography of Brendan O’Carroll (of Mrs Brown fame) and he relayed a piece of advice he learned from somewhere – write a character synopsis of around 20 pages long (per main character) to really get to know your characters. I don’t think I will be adopting this method for my short story characters but today I started this process for my novel characters. I still have a long way to go but I feel it will help. At this stage, I am still working on my short story development rather than a novel but I don’t feel it will do any harm to set the foundations. If anything, it is giving me experience of character building, both for my novel and my own personal development 🙂
I have just read through my blog to date and I’m heartened by my enthusiasm throughout. It’s a good reminder of my past plans and a boost towards my goal. I still stand by my original definition of success:
Someone is reading my blog = a start.
Someone is reading my work = vaguely successful.
Someone has paid for my work = moderately successful.
I am earning enough to write for a living = SUCCESSFUL!
My blog now has some followers so I have achieved my starting point. Tick!
Now to tick the other 3 items on my list.
I can’t help feeling that my original plan was slightly flawed. I had initially stated that I would give away my early writing for free but I have changed my mind. What if I was to charge a small amount? I’m aware that my early writings may not be up to professional standards but if I charge less than £1 for 5 short stories, if people don’t like them then they haven’t wasted much money or time. I like to think of it as the writer’s equivalent of busking. Someone buying a few short stories from me for a few pence is just like chucking coins into a busker’s guitar case. They won’t miss the money but may appreciate a bit of art.
The most important part of that idea is: if even one person buys my book, I have achieved steps 2 and 3 of my goal simultaneously.
Watch this space!