Step 3 of Randy Ingermanson’s Snowflake Method is to start creating your characters. You are supposed to write a one page summary with
- The character’s name
- A one-sentence summary of the character’s storyline
- The character’s motivation (what does he/she want abstractly?)
- The character’s goal (what does he/she want concretely?)
- The character’s conflict (what prevents him/her from reaching this goal?)
- The character’s epiphany (what will he/she learn, how will he/she change?
- A one-paragraph summary of the character’s storyline
for your main characters. Interestingly I am doing Open University‘s free course “Start writing fiction” in their Open Learn area. At the moment I am at part 1.4 “Portraying a character” and incidentally I was supposed to do a characterisation for a character as well. So I used that to start with my main Character Zara. I have done a lot already about her but got caught in the fact that characters and story sometimes develop by themselves and don’t go where they were intended to go. For me those changes always felt like I am not good in what I am doing. How can you know about your character if it changes constantly? But Randy Ingermanson says more than once that that is a process that happens all the time and shows that the character comes alive. So I realised that this negative image of my writing actually stopped me from getting anywhere. I think I got an image of her from what I wrote for the Open University course but I have not answered the questions above. That is what I will do tomorrow.
Some years ago I have tried self-learn courses to get good with writing but my lack of self-esteem and also my lack of perseverance stopped me from finishing them. That seems to have changed. I love to research free material and try out what they teach while I work in the novel.
A few weeks ago I thought about having a mentor for my writing but I had no idea where to find one and I am too shy to ask. Well today I can say that Mr Ingermanson definitely is one. But also the good authors I am reading. Just finished Patricia Cornwells “Red Mist” and while reading was checking for example on what conflicts Scarpetta has in herself but also with the characters around her and what main conflicts are in each scene to bring on the story. I also tried to figure out how she creates atmosphere and how she describes her surroundings. Reading a lot and finding out how the authors do it is probably the best mentor and way of learning how to write. Another one of my classics to learn is J.R.R. Tolkien‘s Lord of the Rings. You can learn how to create world, atmosphere and suspense. That book was the first I ever read and tried to learn from him.
Another way of having mentors right now are blogs of writers. I am not picky just let my intuition take over and show me which one to follow. There are for now mainly Derek Haines and Susan Kiernan-Lewis. Well I should go somewhere like that :-).
Thank you guys for helping me even though you do not know it :-)!!!!