This is a bit of a follow on from last week. I mentioned how great the character of Tom Thorne was. That got me thinking about other great characters. Rebus made me read so many of Ian Rankin’s books. And to be fair some of the ones that dealt with politics or corporate matters weren’t always my thing but John Rebus made me read on.
I watched ‘Trainspotting 2’ the other day and I reckon ‘Spud’ stole the show. Franco Begbie needs to be read as there is more about his character in the books than ever was on film. That is not taking away from the job that Robert Carlyle did, he was exactly what he was meant to be but the book allows you more time to ponder. (Oh, Mark and Sickboy robbing bank cards from the clientèle of an Orange Club and trying all the cards using the pin numbers 1690 was as funny and as ‘logical’ as I have ever seen.)
Character writing is difficult. To keep with their traits you need time and a few books to make sure that this does come across as who they are and not just a quirk. I think in shorts, that is more of a challenge simply due to the word count.
I don’t know if I had to think on specific characteristics first I would be able to write a whole story around it. I normally use a situation or am more often a one line inspired type of story writer.
I just wonder about the likes of our own Leila Allison for example. Does she decide on all the traits of her characters first? (Drinking / one leg / dead / not speaking on a Thursday) Or does she let them evolve into her stories?
I always find it fascinating on how others write. Especially if it is where I myself fall short. (Description / imagination / emotion / grammar / sentence structure / characterisation.
…Plot / humility / humanity
…Legible writing / competent typing
…Patience and finding myself another fecking hobby!!!)
I think we can be hard on ourselves and believe that every other writer has idea, structure and execution perfectly balanced. Maybe that’s not the case and they do what I do, which is drink a bottle of booze and see what happens before they pass out. The great thing about writing that way is that it’s always a surprise of a morning. A bit like an E.D sufferer’s wife seeing a tent when she wakes!
I’ve never really planned out anything for a short, you may have noticed! I think on my one line or situation and then just go for it. I have planned out longer works, but that’s more to do with remembering specifics and where they were going. My memory isn’t what it used to be.
…You see, my memory isn’t what it used to be. (I loathe myself with every terrible ‘joke’!)
That’s why I would always advise folks to sit on a short for a few days and go back to it. There can be huge plot holes that are only an issue if you don’t spot them. Normally just a few sentences can rectify most of them.
Just to let you know, our lovely Diane is unforgiving for one specific type of writing. That is being dead but still telling your story. (…I closed my eyes and darkness came – ‘Bollocks and Pish and my giddy aunt…How the fucking fuck are you able to tell us that ‘darkness came?!)
Diane’s words not mine!!!
Before I mention this weeks stories I’d better explain that a lot of what I write is factual and some isn’t so much. Or vice versa.
I’ll let you all decide on Diane’s words.
Onto our stories. We always have a superb selection and this week was no exception. Topics include attachment issues, labourers, opportunists, self-worth and unacceptance.
As always our initial comments follow.
On Monday we had the second story from Michael Grant Smith. He began the week with ‘The Gravediggers Lemonade.’
‘Very good, gripping and nasty!’
‘Right reason and logic is out the window when becoming feral is all that you can hope to achieve.’
‘A lot is unsaid, Michael skilfully didn’t spell anything out.’
Mary J Breen had her third story on site on Tuesday.
‘This Land Of Milk And Honey‘ was next up.
‘Very well written and pertinent.’
‘Well observed and the dream sequence was interesting.’
‘I agree with the statement on hard work and how it doesn’t always pay.’
Wednesday was in its usual middle of the week spot. The delight that is Mr Tom Sheehan continues to amaze with his skilful writing and wonderful stories.
It was with pleasure that we published ‘The Boatyard Gang.’
‘The revelations were all beautifully understated.’
‘Tom can tell you so much with so few words.’
‘Their relationship was never told as a love in and it was all the stronger for it.’
I hadn’t mentioned that we had two new authors this week. As always we welcome them, hope they enjoy the site and continue to send us more work.
First up was Deidre Jaye Byrne with ‘Linoleum‘.
This was our penultimate story of the week.
‘The grandmother really did a number on her.’
‘This story will stay with me.’
‘I am amazed at this wonderful writing. It is deep and full of emotion.’
And our last story was written by our second new author. AN Block finished off on Friday with ‘Minus Fifty‘ The same welcome applies!!
‘A different structure but it flowed very well.’
‘Interesting and compelling.’
‘The really dark and sad part was his scoring.’
All this mentioning of Mr Welsh and Mr Rankin has made me want to listen to some Iggy Pop, drink some Malt, listen to The Rolling Stones, drink some IPA and shoot up some Skag!
Maybe more untruths?
Did I ever tell you that Diane doesn’t like wine??
!! – DD
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