Sunday, 3 January 2016

Writing - Reading people with presents.

So the holiday season is over, presents have been exchanged and only you know how appropriate the presents you received were. It is interesting that there is an increase in the opportunities to 're-gift' and our church is no different. We are offering the opportunity to people to donate unwanted, or should I say inappropriate, gifts to the 2016 Santa Claus.

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I have never re-gifted anything that I've received at Christmas but there are things that have sat unused in cupboards. There are several possible reasons for this one of which could be the excellent taste of my friends and relatives. It could be that people have read my personality correctly, or it could be that they have played safe.

Assessing characters is quite a difficult skill because, like the Simon and Garfunkel song, people are islands. We all have inner thoughts and feelings that we prefer not to disclose to anyone and those aspects of our characters, or personalities, dictate personal taste and behaviours. Now in the realm of gifts there are some things which are fundamentally male or female, like wallets, alcohol, bathroom accessories and so on. Purchasing a 'safe' present is to guarantee a level of satisfaction to all parties, but getting a friend or relative something that is infinitely personal to them can be quite a skill.

It is similar when creating characters in stories because you are producing a person in an almost god-like manner. To ensure the success of your creation then all aspects of the character need to be addressed. For example Steele, in the majority of my novels, is revealed to enjoy malt whisky - a more than acceptable gift. He likes his cricket and football but hates golf so you wouldn't buy him a golfing tie. These are minor aspects of character building but an essential part of making your character 'live'. In fact great authors like Dickens have been known to spend many pages building the personality of one of their characters which of course influences the pace of your work.

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The pace of a story is the speed at which the narrative travels through the scenarios that you create. There are a variety of ways of playing with the pace.
If you wish to take the reader into a fast moving part of your story it may be that you employ shorter sentences or describe in less detail and use more powerful adjectives or verbs. Obviously you do the opposite if you wish to slow the pace of your work.

Back to gifting and re-gifting.

Throw away sentences describing a situation where your character needs a weapon and finds an ornamental katana tucked away in a cupboard, could be such a situation and distinctly possible with Steele. That would come under the heading of finding something useful. The situation, the gift and the relevance of course, is up to the writer which is somewhat different than in real life.

God Bless