Hope all of us end this year with wonderful Christmas festivities, followed by a coming year of health, happiness, and good cheer!
On the writing front, I’m still rambling down the writing-road and stopping at another rest stop to do some writing-pondering. Here’s the back story of how and why for this stop. First off, I have a guilty confession—I’ve indulgently watched every Midsomer Murders episode many time. Have on DVDs, consequently I can binge-watch whenever!
The other night, on the DVD I was watching, there was a bonus interview with Carolyn Graham, the creator of Barnaby and the murder mystery series books. During the interview she talks about creating, writing, and thought processes involved in writing in general and this series in particular. And one of the things she emphases in the interview is characters! Of course, music to my ears. For her, the plot comes from the people she creates. Characters come first…then the story.
If you are familiar with the series, there are a lot of characters in every episode—brought to life by outstanding British actors—and they are mostly people you like (a few you don’t}—and among both is a murderer (and you have the fun of figuring out out which one of these quirky characters “done it”)
Then in Maggie King’s excellent post last week, she made what I consider an outstanding statement. “That’s why I write. It keeps me out of prison and my victim(s) safe. And I can create interesting characters I’d never want to know off the page.”
I’ve talked about characters a lot—but Carolyn’s interview brought a new point of view—start with the characters to develop the plot. I’ve mostly started with the story, and created characters I thought fit. And I started with a need to like the characters. Even the murderer, I’ve “liked” on some level. But what about some characters I don’t like. Not sure I can do..?
So/but, I’m starting anew with my latest, Mojave Gáteau–which will come from character development, not plot development. This may not sound like a big deal—but for me, it’s a whole turn around. And I’m writing all these thoughts here because, just maybe, thinking about character and plot evolution might be something of interest in your own writing?
And for us readers, can we tell a difference? I’ve looking over my recently read books and taking a look to see if I can—I’m guessing not.
Thank you Carolyn and Maggie!
All thoughts are welcome!
Happy Writing Trails