13,000 words into my new project and I’m starting to get to know my characters better. I heard David Mitchell speak once at a meet the author type event and he said one of the ways he gets to know his characters before he even writes a word is to write them letters, and get them to write to him. I chat to mine in my head, and sort of see the world through their eyes whilst I’m writing them, but it takes me a good chunk of writing them in before they properly take shape. Once they do, the story kind of takes off itself and I struggle to keep up, my typos getting more and more frequent. (I type with four fingers and the P on my keyboard doesn’t work very well. So it’s not great typing. I always promised myself I’d learn properly but never have – I’m fast, but sketchy as hell. And my four fingers get sore – a sort of keyboard hammering injury.) Once I’ve done that, I go back and read the beginning again once I know them better, and often things have changed, so big chunks get rewritten. But not until it’s all finished! It’s the bit of advice I read most often. FINISH IT FIRST. And I think it’s the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given.
Nice comments on the latest shortlist, which made me smile 🙂