(so this was technically written yesterday but I got distracted and started listening to Ed Sheeran’s new album instead of proofreading so it’s only being posted today, sorry!)
First of all, I’d like to apologise for the severe lack of posts recently. We did Write-A-Day and posted solidly for a week, and we haven’t posted at all since… which has been over a month. Let’s say we were doing a no-blogging February challenge? Maybe? Yeah, let’s just go with that…
Anyway, moving on to what I want to write about today. Alice and I are sitting together writing blog posts after we’ve attended a creative writing workshop with an author. I won’t say which author, as then you could stalk him and track us down, so let’s just call him Dave.
The creative writing workshop was quite different to what I thought it was going to be. I’m not really sure what I was expecting, but basically what we did was create a character and a storyline for a story (that I’m now going to go home and write) rather than listen to a monologue on all the usual boring stuff about the importance of metaphors and personification in your writing to enhance it. I really dislike those talks, as I get that all that stuff is important but when I’m writing I don’t want to have to interrupt my flow to add in a couple of similes and some alliteration, if you get what I mean?
Anyway, Dave began by writing 3 lists: facial features, personality traits, and jobs (he wrote the titles, we gave him words to put into the lists). He said that he personally always made a character first then formed the story around them, which actually seems like quite a good idea, as usually I think up of a story line but then have no idea what type of character to put into the situation. So perhaps this is the solution to my problems?
The next thing we did was create our character. We had to pick one from each list that had been written, so I ended up with a bespectacled and sarcastic optician. Then Dave gave us some more categories which we had to put answers into about our character (I don’t think that sentence made sense. Sorry if it didn’t make sense) :
Where they live
Whether they like their job
What music they listen to
What their favourite food is
What films they watch
Whether they’re sporty
Whether they’re in a relationship
Whether they have kids
Once we’d all written down our character and had this outline of their personality, Dave asked us what was the thing that started off a story? Not just a story, but anything. A film, a soap opera, a play. What was the thing that kicked it all off? The answer is a problem (in case you’re wondering)
We then had to think of a problem for our character, a reason for the events to happen, a reason for our story to be talking place. It could be a big problem, like aliens taking over the world, or it could be more mundane and every day, like not having a washing machine so all your clothes stink. I personally found that basing the problem around the character worked quite well, although it won’t work for all. This way I’m not forcing a character that doesn’t fit into a position that they won’t be able to fulfil, which is what I find myself doing quite often.
So now for my story. I’ve not started writing yet, but I know how it’s going to end. Maybe I won’t say that, and then when it’s written I’ll post it so you can see how it develops… yes, I think I’ll do that (if I ever write it – I’m not very good at doing things I say I will. Although maybe putting it out there on the internet will help motivate me?)
My character is a 30 year old man called Colin Banks who works as an optician. He enjoys his job but is sometimes frustrated by his patients, which is when he becomes sarcastic. Colin likes to listen to heavy metal and rock music, his favourite food is spaghetti, and he likes watching cheesy comedy films. He’s very un-sporty, some might call him overweight, others would say he’s ’rounded’, or ‘portly’. He has no kids and is single. That’s his problem – he’s getting over a bad breakup with his old girlfriend. She didn’t like rock music or spaghetti, and so they just weren’t getting along.
Anyway, that’s my story. And I also think that’s all I have to write for now. Perhaps I’ll think of something more later but I’ll put it in a different post – the more posts the better, right?