Challenging You and Your Characters

Clockwise from Top: Laurika Bretherton, Peter Miller, Colette Swires, Rosie Rowell, Jennifer Nadel, Barbara Wren, Mark Pendry, Rochelle Gosling, Susan Oke. Middle: Laurika, Atalanta Miller, Peter (images by Laurika)

A few days ago some of the participants on our courses, past and present, whose work features in the Words Made Flesh anthology, read from their work at Woolfson & Tay, a new and exciting bookshop in Bermondsey, South London. And what a great turnout! For quite a few of the readers, this was the first time they’ve read their work in public. People were nervous in the days building up to the event – you could tell from various status updates on Facebook – as well as during the readings. But once it was over, the was a great sense of triumph, and relief.

Doing something you’ve never done before tests your capabilities, takes you to new places, and can terrify as well as surprise (and liberate) you. Whatever happens, you’ll learn something new along the way. Get your main character to do something they’ve never done before, but make it something they’ve always wanted to do, something they’ve fantasized about, or even talked about, but never had the means or the courage to do it. Make them do it. See what happens. Make them do something that you’ll find a challenge to write about. Make it something you’ve never written about before. Challenge your character, but also challenge yourself at the same time.

And if you prefer to writing autobiographically, then do something you’ve never done before, something you’ve dreamt about doing. Then write about it… and tell us what happened.

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