It’s time for my (slightly delayed) week 3 round up of the #writeupjuly challenge I’m taking part in a over on Instagram, hosted by the lovely Emily Morgan of Write Up. The challenge – #writeupjuly – gives writers the chance to introduce themselves and their current works in progress to the Instagram writing community (which, by the way, is just the best place) and to engage with other writers and generally get to know one another. Emily is one of my absolute favourite Instagram people – her account is beautiful and inspiring and she’s super friendly – and her Write Up blog is a great place to go for writing advice, tips and tools. I decided to share my #writeupjuly journey over here as well, one week at a time, and hope to get to know some of you lovely WordPress writers as well.
Day 15 – The Protagonist
Mairead is a character who just sprang into my mind one day, complete with her unruly mane of red hair, collection of pencils that live in the bottom of her satchel and her deep, aching grief. She is strong but quiet; creative but restrains her creativity; friendly but isolated. A walking bundle of contradictions, at the beginning of the story she doesn’t really know who she is or what she wants and tries not to think about it too much. Before the end, she has to face up to all she’s been using from and accept who she is – whether she wants to or not. I’m still getting to know Mairead but I love her and only hope I can craft a story that will do her justice.
Day 16 – Aspiration & Ambition
Mairead wants her Grandfather back. She wants to craft stories the way he did when she was little. She wants to not be afraid anymore. When we first meet her, she doesn’t realise how connected these desires are. She doesn’t know that only by accepting that her Grandfather is gone, and accepting and facing her fear, will she find her way back to the stories she thought she had lost with him.
Day 17 – Casual Conversations
Like much of my writing, my approach to getting to know my characters is very exploratory. I’m not one for completing extensive character questionnaires (although I find a few key questions can help me explore certain aspects of a character) or for plotting out a whole life history/back story for my characters. I’ll find they come to me quite organically, often triggered by a turn of phrase that conjures a face or a gesture or physical characteristic that sparks my imagination. I tend to find that either an image of a character will then trigger an image of a place they are connected to or vice versa.
Day 18 – Support Systems
My WIP only has a small cast of characters but they’re a bunch I’ve really come to love. There’s Molly who is bursting with energy, loves to cook, is incredibly messy and equally loyal. She wants to take care of people and bring a bit of sunshine into everyone’s life. Then there’s Saf: quietly confident, searingly intelligent and always brings cake. He’s observant and caring, interested in everything and has a strong and steady presence. These two start out as acquaintances of my MC but the three of them grow to become incredibly close. The last of my cast is Amalatu. Guardian of the hidden world. Guide to the realm of Kikruasru. Genius (but not that kind), extremely serious (at least he tries to be) and quietly defiant of the way his role is supposed to work. There’s also Aunt Liz (Mairead’s only family, hostess extraordinaire who just wants her niece to be happy) and Mrs Brown (the friendly librarian who was great friends with Mairead’s beloved grandfather) who both play small but important parts in the story. And there you have it! My cast.
Day 19 – Driving Desire
In the scene I’m currently working on, what does my character need/want most desperately? Something that I often want myself: to be left alone with her book!!😂 For her though, being left alone with her book is the only way she’ll be able to discover if she can find her way back to the hidden world. The only way she’ll know whether it’s real or whether she imagined it all. There’s more than a good story resting on her alone time.
Day 20 & 21 – Party Time & Fatal Flaw
At a party, my MC would be lurking by the nearest bookshelf, examining the books and trying not to make eye contact with anyone. Meanwhile her bestie would be engaged in an enthusiastic conversation with a complete stranger, talking about her latest obsession and gesticulating wildly.
Her fatal flaw is definitely her reluctance to let anyone become close to her and he self imposed isolation puts her in danger…
Are you taking part in #writeupjuly or any other writing challenges this month? Leave your IG handle/blog link in the comments and I’ll check it out.