…go into your creativity?
In the case of Lovely Boyfriend: tea, dried fruit, sugar, self-raising flour (rapidly followed by plain flour + baking powder when he realised he didn’t have enough self-raising) and two hours of carefully monitoring the oven. The result, a yummy Bara Brith fruit loaf.
In my case: a pair of knitting needles, some purple fluffy wool and not enough concentration. I’m trying to knit my first ever jumper (having graduated from “Scarf School” at Christmas) but keep getting distracted. There’s now a row of purl where there should not be…I got carried away wondering about my new set of characters!
What ingredients go into new characters?
Well, this next book is told from four different points of view (POV), so I need four distinct voices. Who’s going to be my self-raising flour? Who’s going to be the dried fruit? Who’s going to be the hot (but not too hot) oven? You’ll have to wait and see…as will I!
My characters do best when given a free rein. At least for the first draft. If I try to mould my character into, say, a Victoria Sponge, they inevitably want to be a Chocolate Brownie. My first draft characters are allowed to say whatever they like, even if they end up contradicting themselves 20,000 words down the line. It doesn’t matter if they do that because, by the end of the first draft, I’ll know who I’m working with. I can then go back and write the second draft with them talking to me like old friends.
I know, I know…wouldn’t I save myself a whole pile of work if I wrote out some of those delightful “Character CVs”? Well, yes and no. I used that method when writing my first book and, yes, it did help me keep track of who was going to appear and when. BUT, it isn’t vital to my storylines to know what colour eyes or hair a certain person has. Or what their favourite flavour of pizza is. I might discover these things as I go along, but they’re not vital for MY creative process. Besides, the CVs I wrote at the start of Hospital Corners meant diddly-squat by the end of the final draft…the characters told me more about themselves than I could ever make up by filling in a blank form.