Friday, 29 July 2016

Creative Spark Week 5 - Character and Story Development

Exercise on Character and Story Development
By Roz Morris

Write about a wedding, from the point of view of two characters who’ll be having very different experiences. One of them is happy to be there.
The other is churning with negative feelings.

The exercise is to describe the same scene from the two characters’ viewpoints. 
To help you enter the two different experiences, the happy character will think in shades of blue or white – imagery, descriptions of feelings, figures of speech and objects they notice. 
The angry character will use phrases, images and observations that involve the colour red. Use this mental colour palette to create two distinct experiences.

This will highlight how very differently two people might see one event, depending on their mood and emotional baggage.

Now we’ll make one of these folks into an unreliable narrator.
It’s probably expected that the spurned character, Red, will be the character readers will dismiss. Nobody believes a grouch, especially on the happiest of happy days.
But let’s be unpredictable.
Write the scene so that hey-nonny-nonny Blue is the unreliable one. Slant their account so that the reader doubts their judgement. Make them naive, or blinded by optimism.

Now look at what you’ve got. See how far the scene has come now you’ve done a few mental twists.
Did you begin by assuming Red was in the wrong?
Has the story deepened now you’ve explored both people?
You never know what you’ll find until you let the characters live.

Roz Morris is a book doctor and an author in her own right. She also has a secret identity as a ghostwriter with sales of more than 4 million copies under other names. She teaches writing masterclasses for The Guardian newspaper in London and has mined more than 20 years of writing and editing experience to create her Nail Your Novel series. 
Find her books here

All images courtesy of Julie Lewis

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