Life in Fiction

Writers, what do your characters DO? When they’re not catching criminals, falling in love, crossing the ocean or solving mysteries, what to they do?

Readers, have you ever thought outside the book? Have you ever wondered what the characters you’ve come to know and love do when they’re not cavorting across the pages of your books?

Or have you, the author, told your readers already? Have you included the characters hobbies and interests as part of their story, part of revealing their character? Because, let’s face it, we all do something in our spare time, even if it’s sitting in front of the tv, or falling asleep on the couch. Our interests and hobbies tell a lot about us.

If someone tells you they like to go scuba diving and hillwalking, you quickly get the impression they are pretty active, energetic, out-doorsy. If they say they like to go fishing, taking the dog for a walk in the park, doing a bit of gardening, you’ll think of them as a little less adventurous but still active and still enjoy being in the fresh air. What about stamp collecting, video-gaming, knitting, reading – quieter pursuits? Perhaps they’re altogether quieter and prefer to be indoors.

Sometimes you meet someone who likes a real mixture of all of the above. Maybe most of the people you know like doing a good mix of things.

But, whatever it is they do, it can shape how they live their lives. It dictates how they use their time, how they spend their money, how much they interact with other people.

As writers, if we want to make our characters live on the page, if we want our readers to identify with them, feel they know them, almost expect to bump into them on the street, then we need to think about what our characters do when they’re not rushing about through the main plot of the story. We might only allude to it in passing, or we might build the story round it. Either way, it can enhance our writing to give our characters a hobby, an interest, a passion.

As readers, do you find it helps you identify with the character who enjoys gardening, as you do? Or who scuba dives like you’d like to? Who horse rides? Or who plays video games? Or knits? Or sews?

In my latest release, Gold Plated, my main character, Rosanna, loves to paint, to design clothes and to make them. She’s enjoyed these pursuits since she was a young girl.

Can you imagine her lying on the grass in her mother’s garden, sketching the shrubs and trees, painting the flowers? Or sitting at the patio table taking inspiration from the colours and shapes of the flowers for the next dress she intends to design and make?

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What about now she’s older? Can you picture her sitting in her conservatory, looking out at her garden, still allowing nature to inspire the dresses she designs

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What does her interest in such a pursuit, and the fact it has been the interest of a lifetime, tell you about her? She’s turned seventy now and it’s still her passion. Does that help you picture her?

Perhaps if she tells you about the dress she’s designed and made for her Golden Wedding Anniversary party:

“The dress I’m going to wear tonight is hidden in the wardrobe till later. I want it to be a surprise for Paul. He hasn’t seen it yet and has no idea of the peaceful hours I’ve spent sewing while he’s been out and about. It makes me smile every time I open the wardrobe door, push aside the things it hides behind, and see my handiwork hanging there. Inspired by the pale, creamy-yellow, woodland primroses that bloom in our garden every spring, designed and fashioned over the summer months after their faded beauty folded and faded further, it has been such a delight to make. Impossible to improve on nature, all I could do was allow the delicate flowers to inform my eye and guide my hand as I sketched and painted, desiring to capture the essence of their beauty in the spring to infuse into my work in the summer.
The chiffon material I sought out is gossamer thin and beautiful, the colour soft as sunshine on a misty day, and the dress slips over my still-trim figure in flattering, floaty, fluted layers to just below my knees.
Being so fine, it is one of the most difficult materials I have ever worked with, but worth every painstaking moment of the hours and days it took to cut and sew. Even the buttery silk lining had to be handled gently. Never have I worked so slowly and never have I been so rewarded for my care.
My fingers melt with pleasure as they linger on the fabric, and I long to feel my creation slip over my body to caress my skin.
I thrill with contented anticipation.”

~~~

Rosanna and Paul are celebrating fifty years of marriage.

Their daughter, Heather, has helped plan their Golden Wedding Anniversary party, and it looks like being a wonderful night: sixties music, all their friends and family present, and Rosanna has bought the perfect golden gift for Paul.

What could possibly go wrong?

When an uninvited guest shows up, Rosanna’s world is shaken and she is forced to look back over their fifty golden years and see them as they were.

Were they golden? Or just gold-plated?

Gold Plated is available right now on Amazon Kindle. You can read it FREE if you have Amazon Prime. And the paperback will be published in a few weeks.

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Click here to buy Gold Plated on Amazon Kindle

Give yourself a treat!

Enjoy!

The Thief of Time

Time.

Such a precious commodity. We all have exactly the same amount of it in a day.

Twenty-four hours. No more, no less.

So how can it be stolen? And who steals it?

Does someone break into the house, gather it up in his fists or stuff it in a rucksack and make off with it?

How come I keep hearing folks say time’s run out? How can it run out? Where does it run to?

The short answer is that time doesn’t run out. Of course it doesn’t run out. It’s fixed. Twenty-four hours every day. Sixty minutes every hour.

So, where does it go?

Something happens to it, that’s for sure, because I never have enough of it in any one day. It doesn’t seem to matter when I get up or when I go to bed, there are things I just didn’t get time to do. Know the feeling? I decided to play detective and follow the clues left lying around the house. You know the ones: the half done Sudoku, the iPad on charge …

And right there is the main culprit. The iPad. I love my iPad. I know a lot of folks have moved on to doing everything on their phone, but I find my phone screen is just not big enough to enjoy a good game of Spider Solitaire – oops! – think I’ve found another clue as to where my time’s going.

Right! That’s Spider Solitaire removed from my iPad – again! I keep taking it off and it keeps reappearing. Well, it doesn’t really just appear – I keep putting it back on. It gets me every time. I fancy a couple of games of Spider Solitaire, tell myself it honestly, honestly will only be a couple of games – or three. Three’s a nice number. But I’m an addict. I can’t have just one game, or even three. Hours can pass unnoticed while I’m moving four onto five, three onto four … you know the game. Hours that I wanted to use for something else. Like writing a proper blogpost.

The other clue I found was the number of retweets I had on Twitter. There can only be retweets if there’s been tweets. How long had I been tweeting? Too long. But there’s purpose to tweeting, isn’t there? Don’t I keep reading that an author needs an online presence? Well, yeah! But how many hours would I need to be chirping away, tweeting on Twitter, to build up any sort of meaningful presence? I don’t know the statistics, but there must be more tweets per second than there are milliseconds. Twitter is a monster of a moving machine. Try it! Write a tweet and watch it disappear under the avalanche of new tweets before your very eyes. It’s scary! Fortunately I’ve never become addicted to Twitter, so I can minimise time spent there quite easily with no loss of pleasure. Done!

FaceBook, Instagram, emails, WhatsApps and texts – well, I’m just gonna have to learn to control them, because they do serve a useful purpose. They keep me in touch with friends and family, especially those in far-flung corners of the globe …

Now there’s another thing! How can a globe have corners? Hmmm! Think I’ll Google who thought up that saying …

~~~

If you’ve got the time, why not check out my novels on Amazon.

Reading a good book is always a good use of time.

~~~

Juggling

Everyone loves to juggle – right? Anyone can juggle – right?
Have you ever thought of trying it, ever picked up a couple of oranges from the fruit bowl and had a go?
Let’s face it, we all juggle something, whether it’s daily tasks, time management, knives or clubs. But I always thought juggling pretty coloured balls would be easy – until I tried it!
Anyway, this is an interesting and fun post by a juggling enthusiast, Tim Pow.
Enjoy!

The Adventures of Tim Pow

I started juggling about 10 years ago. When most people try to learn to juggle they might reach the dizzying heights of the 3 ball cascade, which is the standard 3 ball juggling pattern. If they get there, its mission accomplished and they can get on with their lives without the need to throw and (sometimes) catch any object possible.I wasn’t satisfied with that.

Like many, many things in my life, I became a little bit obsessed with it, learning more and more tricks and patterns. Then I moved onto juggling clubs, then knives. And, to my wife’s dismay, fruit. At the peak of my juggling days I juggled at a charity event where I juggled 3 glowing orbs in the dark and finished with a few knife tricks.

long exposure 3 ball cascade
Like most things, my interest faded in and out once I felt that I was acceptably…

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