What a Character!

 

Imaginationship Atilla Akinci, John Sackville

Atilla Akinci as Gediminas and John Sackville as Bazzy in my play Imaginationship

If you want to hook your readers, you’ll need a character that leaps off the page. A good character is believable and interesting. Firstly, be careful your character is not of music-hall-cliche stock (dumb blonde, greedy banker, uber-organized German, upper class twit etc…) – the problem here is that the reader will have met your character far too many times before to find them interesting now. As usual, turning the cliche on its head can be a good place to start getting ideas (chess-master page three girl, a banker who secretly gives away money etc…)

Also, don’t focus on describing what they look like from head to toe. In fact, their general physical appearance is not so revealing – the key is often in the interesting quirks and blemishes. Moreover, you ought to climb inside your character’s skin, get to know them intimately and let the reader see how they tick. It  is  good if there is something unusual about them. Here’s a sample list of questions you could mull in order to give your character depth:

Rather than describe the colour of their hair and eyes, write instead about their height.

What about their gait, posture and walk? Does he flutter, jerk, flap or glide?

If you first met this character, what would strike you most?

Does s/he resemble an animal?

What is their natural scent?

What sort of diet do they have and what has been the physical impact of this regime?

What does their best friend think of them?

What happens when your character gets drunk?

What does your character have in his/her pockets/handbag/beside table?

What is your character’s favourite joke?

Also, to make your character particularly memorable, give him/her/it a singular physical attribute your reader will long associate with them. Think of it this way, if you were going to a costume party dressed as Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes, Miss Havisham or Liesbeth Salander – what would you need? My guesses are, respectively: a lightening bolt scar, a deerhunter hat and pipe, an old wedding dress, and a dragon tattoo. Try to imagine what you’d need to be recognizable as your character.

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Imaginationship: EXTRA SHOW added!

The entire run Imaginationship at the Finborough Theatre has SOLD OUT! So, we’ve added an EXTRA PERFORMANCE, a 2pm matinee on Monday 22nd, due to the extraordinary demand for tickets. If you wish to come, tickets for this extra date go on sale on Friday 19th at 12pm, but please book asap as they’ll sell quickly: Finborough Theatre.

Imaginationship Patience Tomlinson. Bart Suavek


IMAGINATIONSHIP run near SOLD OUT (tickets remaining for Jan. 16th matinee only!)

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All bar one of the remaining performances of IMAGINATIONSHIP at the Finborough Theatre have now sold out. Very limited tickets remaining for the Tuesday MATINEE on Jan 16 only. If you plan on coming, please Book soon!


IMAGINATIONSHIP at the FINBOROUGH Now Showing

IMAGINATIONSHIP has sold out four of the remaining six performances already! Please book your tickets asap if you’re planning on coming to see my new play at the Finborough Theatre , London.

Directed by Tricia Thorns, the play is set in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. 59-year-old Ginnie attempts to seduce her unrequited love, the nymphomaniac Brenda. Attila is from Hungary but has ended up scraping an existence in Yarmouth – and pursues Melody who is obsessed with her commitment phobic evening-class tutor, Tony. Power-plays and relationships clash until a seduction too far leads to mass murder.

Set in this marginalised Brexit town, Imaginationship explores obsession, sex addiction, and the devastating effect of imbalanced relationships, not least between immigrants and locals, London and the regions.

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BOOK HERE

Featuring:

Joanna Bending – Melody

Jilly Bond – Ginnie

Atilla Akinci – Gediminas

John Sackville – Baz

Bart Suavek – Attila

Patience Tomlinson – Brenda

Rupert Wickham – Tony


IMAGINATIONSHIP

imaginationship eflyer 4

Hugely excited to announce that my darkly funny play IMAGINATIONSHIP will run at the Finborough Theatre , London, for three weeks in January 2018.

Directed by Tricia Thorns, the play is set in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. 59-year-old Ginnie attempts to seduce her unrequited love, the nymphomaniac Brenda. Attila is from Hungary but has ended up scraping an existence in Yarmouth – and pursues Melody who is obsessed with her cold and distant evening-class tutor, Tony. Power-plays and relationships clash until a seduction too far leads to mass murder.

Set in this marginalised Brexit town, Imaginationship explores obsession, sex addiction, and the devastating effect of imbalanced relationships, not least between immigrants and locals, London and the regions.

BOOK HERE

Featuring:

Joanna Bending – Melody

Jilly Bond – Ginnie

Atilla Akinci – Gediminas

John Sackville – Baz

Bart Suavek – Attila

Patience Tomlinson – Brenda

Rupert Wickham – Tony


It’s All About Me

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When writing prose, once you’ve found your character, the next decision you’ll make regards narrative point-of-view.

Think of your favourite novels. Do you favour 1st person (“I”) or 3rd person (“he/she/it”) books? Chances are, you’ll write more comfortably using the type of narrative point-of-view you prefer to read.

If you chose the “I” narrative, or first person, your tale will be viewed through the eyes of one of your characters and events will be expressed in that character’s language and should reflect this character’s perceptions and opinions.

The first person can be very intimate and often allows access to the protagonist’s innermost thoughts, which is a helpful method of hooking the reader. On the negative side, all that “I, me, my” can be akin to listening to a monologue – and may bore the reader, if you’re not careful. Additionally, you are limited as to what you can tell the reader, as you can only “know” what your narrating character “knows”. Finally, littering the page with “I”s – neither looks nor “sounds” appealing. For the above reasons, the first person is often more suited to short stories rather than novels.

Having said that, there are wonderful first person novels out there and if you are determined to use a first person narrator, you really ought to read great examples of this narrative point-of-view to get a good handle on it: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemmingway.

Also, a first person narrator could be a minor character observing a major character, which may remedy some of the pitfalls outlined above. Examples of this type of narrative include Sherlock Holmes and Wuthering Heights.

The Unreliable First Person Narrator My personal favourite first person narrator is the unreliable variety. It has great comic/tragic potential. With an unreliable narrator, the story is told by a character that doesn’t really “get” what is going on. The reader guesses the true state of affairs, however, and the narrator becomes the butt of the joke. An unreliable narrator is often a child or a naïve or foolish person who does fully comprehend how the world works (think Forrest Gump). The resulting book/play/short story can be quite funny and/or very moving. See the following examples: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night by Mark Haddon or Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding.


Theatre Weekend

If you happen to be in London, I have two separate theatre events on here this weekend.

SHORT PLAY: Sun., Oct. 15th – ‘Burning’ (15 mins., dir. Tommo Fowler) at the Arcola (5pm and 8pm) in The MINIATURISTS

STAGED READING: Mon., Oct. 16th ‘Imaginationship’ (75 mins., dir. Tricia Thorns) at the Finborough, 7.30pm in the VIBRANT Festival of new writing.

 

Do come along to either one.

 

 


Burning

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If you’re in the Hackney/Dalston neighbourhood next Sun. Oct. 15th, do come along to The Miniaturists. It’s a showcase of 15minute off-book plays by five invited emerging playwrights, at 5pm and repeating at 8pm. My piece, ‘Burning’ (dir. Tommo Fowler) is orientated around Brexit.

It’s a fun evening too. Do come along!


Imaginationship

My latest play, ‘Imaginationship’ receives a staged reading as part of the Finborough Theatre’s VIBRANT Festival of New Writing. If you’re in the London area, do come along!

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Sex addiction, obsession & murder on a Brexit landscape, that’s “Imaginationship” 


Strike a Pose with your Prose!

Learn to edit your literary work with Sue Healy.

HEY LONDONERS! If you or anyone you know has a book or short-story or similar that they wish to whip into shape before submitting to agents, editors, publishers and the like, sign up for my City Lit course. Every Friday, from Sept. 29th.

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