Sunday, 21 May 2017

Preparing, plotting and planning

This week I've been thinking about the craft of writing and how it is a constantly evolving, and hopefully improving, process. Author extraordinaire and wonderful blog post writer Sam Tonge recently highlighted how stepping out of her comfort zone and challenging herself has had an impact on her latest book and, I would imagine, all those that follow, and her comments really struck a chord with me.

Any Wynbridge fans reading this know that I have written five novels in pretty quick succession and in order to keep making the next better than the last I have had an eye to the craft from day one, but not everyone has understood why. For example, I recently attended a creative writing class and when another attendee discovered I was already published she asked,

'So what are you doing here if you've already made it?'

In her mind, the fact that I had seen my books on the supermarket shelves and made the Bookseller Heatseeker Chart meant my work was done. Surely I could just keep repeating the winning formula, but that's not how it works. I intend to keep pushing and hopefully improving. Honing my craft and refining every word I commit to paper and screen.

At the moment I'm planning novel number 6, which will be my summer '18 read, and I'm trying something new - character questionnaires. I daresay many of you use them already but they're new to me and an absolute joy. I've adapted one I downloaded and it is packed with questions designed to encourage your characters to open up and share.

There are the obligatory hair and eye colour questions but also the 'what's in his fridge?' and the 'where would you find her at lunchtime on Saturday?' ones and I love them! I'm hoping they will give my characters more depth and back story and in turn indeed make the next book even better than the last, because that's the point, isn't it? We want to get better and bolder and keep our wonderful readers entertained, don't we?

If you haven't used character questionnaires before I urge you to give them a go and be prepared to learn some deep, dark secrets about the people you intend to populate your pages with.

Happy writing and reading folks!

                                                       H x

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