Writing in a pandemic. Being creative during ‘interesting and traumatic’ times is difficult at best. Difficult feels like such an understatement for what writing in the past two years has been like.
Burn out. (See above) A combination of the pandemic and personal life stuff hit me really hard right about the time I began writing Crown Court Killer. It made the entire process a lot harder than usual.
A complex murder plot involving a lot more moving parts than I usually deal with.
Uncooperative characters who further complicated a complex plot. My characters often run amuck (amuck is such a good word.) But they definitely had mind of their own in Crown Court Killer.
Another story calling my name. I won’t lie; I spent a lot of the time thinking about Purloined Poinsettia, Motts’s next adventure. It’s hard to work on one mystery when another is loudly screaming at your muse.
We meet Wayne Dankworth in book one of the London Podcast series. He’s the solicitor friend of Osian and Dannel who happens to have a crush on Dannel’s younger brother. He pops up in book two as well. But in book three, he is front and centre.
So here are a few things about him.
He’s a solicitor.
A snappy dresser.
Completely and totally in love with Roland.
Sings karaoke very badly.
Lives to argue.
Loves throwing parties.
Forever giving his friends rides because none of them own a vehicle.
It’s been a while since I’ve played with a new set of characters. I’ve been writing series for so long. Just bouncing from one longish series to the next. And I love all those characters, but I’m ready to discover new ones.
One of the first things I always do when creating a new character is find a visual reference. I’m not brilliant an creating an image in my mind. Some people are visual, I am not.
I know it when I see it.
But I have to see it.
So usually, I start by scanning Pinterest or maybe I’ve already seen someone on a TV show or movie or even an AD that has a vibe.
And that’s usually where the character begins to develop.
Nine times out of ten. My characters come face first. Name second. Motts is one of the rare examples of a character whose name came to me first.
I always knew she was going to be Pineapple Mottley.
But aside from Motts, it’s usually face then name.
Once I’ve figured out the face of the character, I begin building out who they are. Their interests. Their personality. I have a list of questions that fill out with a whole host of details about them from what movies they watch to what their favourite curse words are.
The goal for me is to be able to start the first chapter of my WIP fairly confident in who the character is.
So, I have a cork-board or bulletin board, or whatever you want to call it, above my desk. I use it for inspiration and a visual board for whatever book I’m working on. I thought I’d share what’s on the current one.
The top half is almost entirely book inspiration. Character and place references, etc.
My fave Hamilton sticker on the bottom left.
A couple postcards and a card with encouraging notes from friends. Sometimes I need a little lift of my spirits.
Favourite writing quotes that are always on the board.
You can’t see him, but I have a little plague doctor keychain that dangles at the bottom of the board.