Writespiration #23


I’ve been thinking about my characters a lot recently, and have created a series on crafting characters, which you can see, here, here and here.

But something that came from the character journal concept, got me thinking about what my character’s life was like before the story, or even after the story – outside of my story what do they do? What do they like? What do they do at the weekend? What’s their job, or team sport? and so on. It’s helped me answer a few questions about my characters, have a go and let me know if it helps you too.



  1. My first book is told in the first person. The hero (if he be such) is 19. Having had him tell his story I wanted him to have another story and, for Nano, I moved him on a few years, to 23, just starting a proper job after university. In planning this I needed to go back before I could go forward and think more about his life prior to book one. The first book could have been self contained and I didn’t need to delve too deeply into much context but adding five years I needed to know more about him and his friends and family. It was revealing to add certain layers while remaining loyal to the first book. I can’t see I would have gone through this process but for the willingness to write the sequel.


      1. Easy question is the 5 years. I have used an autobiographical element to this story; Harry, my hero was 19 in 1976 as was I. He comes home to the New Forest for what will be a dull summer. As did I. He wants to get away, but first earn money and hopefully have a lot of sex. As.. well you get the picture. After that it is complete fiction. So following on I have put Harry doing his legal training – articles as they were then called – in 1981, with London just stretching its muscles under Thatcher.
        How did I go back? I think because I had created his family I used that dynamic. I had a date and a setting – 1973, New Forest, he’s doing his O levels. And from that built a picture with some notes for him, his younger sister and his parents. I then used tose characters and wondered about their futures in those 5 years. Dad is out of work, what does he do? Mother has lost out on her dream opportunity, hwo does that affet her. Sister is in this state, what will she do. And harry. I’ve given him a job so he’s done his degree but with what result. What about his love life? What about friendships. The good thing was to use characters who were minor in book one and build roles for them in book two. Actually it became easier because I could take what we knew and add some glosses. If anything not getting carried away before I started writing was the concern. It would have ben easy to make it too interesting which would then mean huge expositions needed. K>I>S>S of course. Does that help? And remember I have only written a very first draft of two thirds of this book so I’m still learning!


      2. Yeh but don’t you have a bazillion books drafted? I swear u said u had at least four the other day?

        If ur book is half as funny as your comments I am bumping it up my must read list. I think hearing about people’s writing processes is simply fascinating. It’s a window into their mind and potential writing tips 🙂 did you have a good birthday party for ur daughter?


      3. I have 5 finished, though two are pretty rough and would need complete rewrites now I understand the process. I have 3 on the go, each about two thirds done and I have a YA that is done but needs to be looked at by someone who understands YA fiction before I think about doing anything with it.
        Have a look at the reviews on Amazon for the book; it may give you an idea.
        I’ve had a simply brilliant weekend. The Vet (you will gather I anonymise my family and friends for blogging purposes) is botha student vet and the most passionate foodie so we tend to indulge her (my princess!) by going somewhere special for b’day presents. Last year it was Heston’s fat Duck and this year Sat Bains in Nottingham. So now thinking about the week ahead with a grin on my face. Thank you for asking… 😉


      4. I should have said, silly me, if you promise to review it I’ll happily pop a copy in the post to you – signed too of course! That is if you’re happy to send me your address – my mail is Glepard at saqnet dot co dot uk if you want to message me.


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