OK so this was some really slow authorship. In my last post I explained that I’ve been having trouble with secondary characters so I put in some time and effort and came up with back stories for a bunch of them. As a result I’m not much further on, in fact I’ve only managed to do a revision of the four chapter I’ve done so far written with these new back stories in mind. However there’s a lot more depth starting to appear and despite the fact that my main characters are still just teenagers at this point I feel as though I’m presenting more well rounded individuals. In short some time getting to know my characters has allowed them to feel more real for me and as a result I would like to hope that they are now a little more real in the book text as well.
So what’s the point of this post then (apart from pointing out that I’m now 20% of the way through my target number of chapters). Basically it’s this: I previously mentioned the importance of getting your formatting right from the get go well I’ve now become more aware of the importance of a brief back story. This doesn’t have to ever appear in the text but it is necessary for you as an author to write a sympathetic description of your characters.
I remember hearing that J K Rowling did something similar (e.g. the revelation that Dumbledore is gay doesn’t appear once in the text but it certainly explains his obsession with and obedience of the malevolent, and apparently quite dashing, Grindelwald as a young man). We need to know our characters. We want our readers to get to know them and (we hope) love them, but this won’t happen if we can’t introduce them properly.
Writing this book is teaching me all the things I hoped it would, and I’m expecting to be able to return to my more hefty series of books, once this is complete, with a better working knowledge of how to get a story to work. Anyway, thanks for reading, hopefully it won’t be quite so long till my next post.