Character Building

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 🙂

Latest change of plan

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!