A Comment on Characterisation
Sam, Alicia. This was a conscious choice because when I’ve read books in the past I find it hard to get my head around weird alien names and lose track of who is who. I didn’t want my readers to have the same problem so I’d just rather keep it simple and direct. Even so a few slightly different names did creep in, like Kristof and Skylar. Again not alien names, but just a little unusual.
I probably couldn’t walk down the street and meet a Kristof or Skylar, but I could probably bump into a Keith.
character whose experiences the story is built around. Sometimes but not all the time you have an antagonist in direct opposition to the protagonist. Their conflict creates the story. Actually it’s not quite that simple, but that is a starting point. In my novels I tend to have more than one protagonist, allowing multiple points of view and multiple antagonists as well. It mixes things up more, and sometimes a protagonist can change roles and so can the antagonist.
Their roles are not set, but are dictated by how each character progresses in the story.
Characters are not consistent, and may make a good decision one day and a bad the next, even when confronted with the same circumstances. Why? Is this bad writing? No, in real life people are equally inconsistent, I’m inconsistent. We live, we change, we make mistakes and sometimes we don’t. Characters follow suit.
small minded, Roger sees Keith as alien and arrogant. But that doesn’t mean they can’t work together, it doesn’t mean they can’t love the same people. But they are at odds, and that conflict helps to define who they are and make them more interesting as people. If they liked each other, and did everything without argument, that would make them the same person. Superficially the description would be different, but the characters would be duplicates of each
other. People are all unique and different and no-one is exactly the same. In life we are all the stars of own shows, for the characters it’s no different.
Even a minor character doesn’t know they are a minor character. In their own life they are the protagonist and they have to be written that way.
Someone is tall, someone is fat, someone is a man, someone is a woman. Gender stereotypes: the man should be strong, the woman should be weak. That is rubbish, a woman can be stronger than a man, both physically and mentally. A woman shows more emotion than a man? Maybe in feature films, but in a story we
are interested in the inner voice. A man and woman can be equally afraid, equally grief-stricken, equally brave, and equally hysterical. Characters react and feel, man or woman, it shouldn’t matter. I’m not saying they should be written the same, but a writer should avoid being influenced by preconceptions about gender as much as possible. Why, as much as possible? Because we are all influenced by our upbringing, and every independent thought is tinged by that.
I have no doubt that some stereotypes creep into my writing, but the trick is to avoid those stereotypes as much as you possibly can.
isn’t going to say to Kristof, let’s blow up this place and go home. It’s not in his character. So plot hinges on how a character would act, and you can’t just throw in plot twists which don’t fit with a character’s actions. You have to write the character’s actions based on their developed traits and let the story play out as honestly as possible. That’s when it gets interesting for a writer, really interesting, because as you’re writing you don’t know exactly
what is going to happen next.
disappeared during a routine mission to Seek, Locate and Destroy the enemy Machine Mind contingent known as ‘The Ochre’. Conclusion: It was either destroyed by the Ochre or went rogue for reasons unknown. If sighted, approach with extreme caution.
Samantha Marriot and her parents to flee their home for the relative safety of ‘The Rainbow Islands’. Once there, Sam discovers a secret her father has been keeping from her all her life, a secret that will change everything.
operator, an IT support analyst, and a software tester. But during all this time he was also an insatiable reader of science fiction and fantasy books like Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising Sequence, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, Robert Charles Wilson’s Blind Lake and Greg Egan’s Permutation City. He is very
fond of weird, mind-bending stories and decided quite early on to try writing some. ‘Surface Tension’ is his second novel.