05 September 2011

Fuel for characters

Characters... where do they come from, how can a writer create a realistic person on paper? For me I like to think of characters as a fire. To build a good fire, that will burn strong and true, you need the right fuel, and you need to lay it out right.

My characters are always a mishmash, part out my head, and part from the real world. I've never used people I know in my stories, but things they've done add elements or shadings to my characters. Mostly though, it's little bits and pieces I pick up around me as I go about my day-to-day that help me build characters.

Here's an example. At the recent wonderful RWNZ conference, on of the workshops was Nic Harrison’s “Live by the sword” sword-fighting techniques. It was hosted by four gentlemen, dressed for a fight, with real swords in hand. Not only was it informative, but seeing real fighting in action was great. Not only that however, those men and their enthusiasm etc... were fuel. A little twig here, a larger log there, all fuel for future characters.

You looking for a little fuel of your own, or just want to watch two guys whack each other with swords?  Here's Nic Harrison & Shay doing a demo (they kept things pretty slow so we could see what they were doing).

Here's Robbo, Shay & Silver with knife fighting. The blood on Robbo's (guy in red) hand afterwards was an indication that even in "play" this is not to be taken lightly.

Thanks to Maree for these putting up on her website, and to Nic & the guys for giving us a great workshop. Maree has more videos on her site, it was so hard to only pick two to put up here.

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