Bringing Characters to Life

On Saturday I attended the 8th annual Shire Writers’ Festival. It was a great event with some truly inspiring speakers.

PM Newton spoke on ‘Writing is Re-writing’. The two take aways for me from this session were:

Make sure any extra characters in the book have a ‘real’ place and know them well. They shouldn’t just be there as devices to move the plot along.

and

In scenes ‘In late and out early,’ Think about what is important in the scene, what is the turning point and keep it tight around that point.

Jaclyn Moriarty spoke on ‘Create that Character.’ She gave us a fascinating insight into Isaac newton’s character. The big take aways were:

Unmask characters gradually, piece by piece, so that the reader gets to know them gradually in the same way that we would get to know someone in real life.

and

Give characters secrets, things that the world doesn’t know about them. Aspects of the characters childhood can really bring authenticity to a character, as can describing a characters bedroom furnishings or house.

Kylie Fornasier spoke on ‘History to the Page.’ The take away from this session, was that historical fiction requires a huge amount of research, but at some point you have to stop reading and start writing. It was also interesting to learn that all libraries can do inter-library loans, so you can get your library to order a book for you from any library in Australia – Good to know, Thanks Kylie!!

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