Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Generating and Developing Characters

When it comes to starting something new, I usually have a few false starts and then hit on something. This is normally the thing that has the most mileage; one of the biggest struggles is keeping hold of my initial inspiration and being able to continue, so an idea with lots of momentum is essential.

My characters are usually the first thing that comes into my head, and then the story develops after this. Sometimes it can be the other way round, or these things can come together; I think everyone is different when it comes to the order of idea formation. I’ll begin imagining something to be a certain way, and then the characters will develop more and more complexities as it goes along, and then by the end of the development process I might have something completely different to what I started out with. It is a process of getting to know the characters, I suppose.

Sometimes my inspiration, as negative as it may sound, can come from things I don’t like about the way people have been betrayed in books I have read, for example, if I feel as though someone has been unfairly treated or ridiculed by the author, I will take inspiration from it and try to portray the character ‘type’ or situation in a new light. This is true of my novella ‘To My Last Friend’. Obviously all the plot and the characters are entirely my own, but it is manifesting your feelings about something into your own work, which includes injecting it into the story and the characters. I have read a fair few accounts in books regarding the themes explored in ‘To My Last Friend’ where the characters have been very brutally spoken of and treated. I don’t think it is fair to say that these people are ‘disgusting’ or ‘corrupted’ or ‘evil’, or this eventuality isn't possible, particularly after all the research, both primary and secondary, that I have done. 

Creating my characters is a good balance between drawing from my own experience of life, but also from exploring a little bit outside of that too. Research can be a costly thing; it can also be free, but you have to be realistic and reasonable about your ideas.

Sometimes I actually think authors should delve more into their own personal experience. Writing something is like bringing something new to the table. Reading about the same sorts of people and professions does get tiring sometimes, as negative as that might also sound. I hate to sound negative. I’m sure there are some really good blog posts about character diversity out there…

Like any business idea, it is easy to be inspired by where others may have failed; characters can be a tool to raise awareness about certain scenarios, or maybe a disability or obscure illness that gets little media attention, but you think should have more coverage than it does.

A balanced character is really, really important too; I could write a book about the ‘Mary Sue/ Gary/ Marty Stu’ character, although admittedly there are some circumstances where this character type is relevant. But in my particular line of work (general fiction/drama) I like to avoid this. I don’t like to allow stereotypes in my own work either, and also every character must include both negative and positive traits, must do things right and also make mistakes. I like to leave it up to the reader to decide who they identify with. There is no bad side; this is no good side.

I would like to hear other author comments on what inspires them when generating their own characters, and to what degree they draw on their own personal life experience.

Thanks for reading by blog.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Starlight (Poem)

I've been writing this poem called starlight in the middle of the night: I do write poetry sometimes but not often; in fact this one isn't particularly typical of me but here we go. Tell me what you think maybe?


The stars crumbled into tiny pieces;
As they fell, the dust slipped through our fingers;
As the mountains exploded beneath us;
We were buried before we could flee.

Sea beds became dry valleys of the dead;
There was not water, but an ocean of bone,
And the sun’s rays could hardly have seized us;
They had burnt out before they could be.

As I watched the sparks fade from your eyes,
I watched the starlight fade from our lives;
I watched the core of the earth start to shrink;
Why did the world die before we could blink?

Saturday, 30 November 2013

This Week!

I am really looking forward to this week with my Kindle Countdown promotion being on for the book 'To My Last Friend.'

I have also begun writing a new story this week; it is great to get back to this as well!

I wish everyone who is reading this blog wellness and prosperity! Thank you for taking the time to get to know more about me and my book by visiting this blog.

I like it when I find the time to leave a post here!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


My Kindle Countdown deal for my eBook To My Last Friend begins tomorrow! (28th November) and will run until the 5th of December. The eBook will be $0.99 on Amazon during this period of time.  Also check it out on the Independent Author Network!:

"At least it was love we were showing initially, and not hatred and violence like you did in the end." - To My Last Friend 

Monday, 18 November 2013

To my last friend,

I thought about the impossible task I was faced with. I had done everything in my power to succeed, but only a fool would have carried on as the odds were completely against me. All had been set up from the very start to go wrong, and there was no time, day or night, that I could rest without thinking about the situation I had become trapped in, and the futility of my efforts. Society did not want me, and could no longer abide by me, because I was at the brink of my truth being discovered.  I did not want to set my world alight, to watch it burn because of the sister I had come to love too much.

I was not weak but I could not cope. I pleaded that I was not a weak person. I used to be so good at denial, so good at forgetting. I could no longer put aside the loss of any moral standing that I’d had; I should have preserved my innocence, but instead I took a bite out of the apple, and it turned bitter in my mouth. I had thought I had known what it was to be loved by her, and to love her in return, but I was wrong.

All I ever wanted since the last bad day was to take everything back and start again. All I wanted to do was reach out and pull time into my chest, to make it young again, like an infant who belongs to their parent. But time never wished to stay; time only wanted to grow up and leave and find a place of its own where it could be out of my control.

I wrote this to myself because I wanted to remind myself why I was going where I was going, and why I was going to do what I was going to do. I wanted these thoughts to be racing through my mind as I took hold of every thread in my life and tied them all into one neat knot.
I did not know why I was brought into a world that was starved of love, but where my love was unwelcome.

The times I had loved and been loved I could no longer bear to think of again.

All that was left to be done was to give my apologies, and so for every grave mistake I was sorry, and I hoped that one day my memory would be so far in the past that she would no longer be able to count out my faults.

Yours faithfully



Sunday, 3 November 2013

I am currently working on a promotional book which will be free to download from Amazon!

Again it is a short story; it is nearly there but there is still a lot of revision to do before it is completed.

It's name will be Tracks, and I will post up a synopsis as soon as one is put together.

Thank you and kind regards,
Sarah Swainson