Friday, 17 February 2017

Writers advice

Hello there!

We're well into February now and the year is marching on. In Australia that means that summer is nearly over - although we'll still have hot weather for another month or two, officially March signals the beginning of autumn.

Today I thought I'd share a quote with you. It's one of those quotes you see floating around on social media; you know the ones that are accompanied by cutsie pictures or sweet music?

While I'm all for people using affirmations and motivational statements - if it helps you become a decent human go for it! - but I get a bit over the constant bombardment of well-meaning advice from strangers.

Alright, so having said that, I'm going to share one I saw the other day which actually made me pause in what I was doing (scrolling my Instagram page) and think about the statement.

It was posted by the Australian Writers' Centre and is a quote by John Rogers.

You don't really understand an antagonist until you understand why he is a protagonist in his own version of the world.

What do you think about that? What does it mean?

I've often been asked about my character Anne Broughton in Torn. She is one of the antagonists who caused most of the problems for my protagonists Alex and Patrick. She is deceitful, self-serving and seems to have absolutely no loyalty to anyone.

Surprisingly, Anne seems to intrigue people. Some even go so far as to consider her sympathetically, and certainly, as her creator, I understand that Anne has her own motivations. She has undergone her own loves and losses and much of the way she behaves is a result of those experiences.

As a protagonist in her own version of the world, what would her story look like?

The book I'm currently working on has an antagonist whose behaviours we probably don't need to question, after all, he's the bad-guy playing opposite my good-guys. All stories need one.

But when I thought about him in the context of that quote, I realised that if I were to explore my bad-guy's world a bit deeper, how would he look?

In his world, he has a cause, he has motivation, he has a purpose. He doesn't think he's the bad guy, he only seems that way from the point of view of the other characters - my protagonists.

So we're brought back to that old chestnut: there are two sides to every story.

Think about that.  No, seriously, think about it. Consider a book you've read in which you are naturally sympathetic towards the protagonists, then turn it around.

Let your imagination run wild and take what you know about the antagonist and build on it. Try to see the story and the protagonists from the other character's point of view.

Why does he/she behave in a particular way? What may have been the catalyst behind some of the rotten things he/she does or says?

Go to the antagonists world.

Interesting exercise? Perhaps!

See you in 14!

P.s. Thought I'd share this picture. I found these books in a bookshop in the U.K. As a Famous Five fan, I thought they were very funny and an example of how caught up we are in today's issues. Enid Blyton would be horrified!


Modern twist on historical novel
Wonder what Enid Blyton would make of these! She probably wouldn't know where to start.

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