I started to write a piece yesterday, but veered off on a completely different tack. I was going to write about the quote from Ray Bradbury, ‘First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him! ‘ but I got diverted by the word ‘hero’:
…Some of my heroes are actually heroines, and I prefer to think of them as main characters – calling them heroes or heroines subliminally suggests they are heroic, whereas actually, they are just ordinary.
So today I’ll write what I was going to do yesterday! What happened then is also an example of what I’m going to write about, that when I’m writing the hero/story/blog/article seem to have its own life and take off where it wants, rather than where I anticipated. This thought also reminds of something I wrote the day before, about the impossibility of planning for me – planning what I write that is!
Let me get back to the quote, ‘find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!’ My inspiration for writing something nearly always starts with character. In some cases it’s me carrying on my childhood habit of making up adventures in my head for me – as my own life, like most people’s is quite ordinary. In other stories it’s me finding a character – a stranger I’ve observed, a person who has found celebrity in some way (singer, athlete, TV chef, actor etc) and creating a character for them with a different name (and sometimes a different nationality or even gender) Then maybe I create or set up a dilemma they have to face, or a difficulty they have to overcome – and I begin to write the story of my made-up person.
Sometimes my stories start with the dilemma, difficulty or challenge – for example someone being stalked, the break-down of a marriage, moving house, a partner’s infidelity, the death of someone close, unhappiness, new love… There might be a starter theme, but then as I write, new characters bob up, my lead characters (not heroes) seem to take on their own personality and begin to go in directions I hadn’t anticipated, or make decisions I hadn’t wanted them to make, or do things I really hadn’t expected them to do… in this I am doing as Bradbury advises – I’m following my characters!
I know some writer have ‘maps’ which they follow religiously… I just do as I do in real life when I’m in a new place, I just wander around and see what happens!
I think this is particularly strong in my Radwinter series – my character Thomas Radwinter has taken over (and maybe there is a story in that scenario too – the writer dominated and manipulated by her/his people)
Here is a link to my Radwinter e-books, and my recently published paperback:
… and my other e-books: