Every so often I play a podcast in the series Creative Writing Audio by the Open University available on iTunes University – I have it on my iPad. I don’t particularly want to follow another full course in creative writing but find these type of courses helpful in so far that you can listen to half an hour or so of conversations on topics of interest. You know, those times that you are completely without inspiration and think you’ll never write another page again, or when you are bogged down with a pile of ironing or some other menial tasks, or when you want to unwind in the evening and just sit and listen to someone, rather than read or watch a dvd, fed up with all the depressing news on the television.
A couple of weeks ago I listened to a podcast with Jane Rogers, the author some eight published novels and writer of short stories, original television and radio drama. She is probably most well-known for her novel Mr Wroe’s Virgins and she explained in the podcast how she wrote the four characters in this book. She said she had to write each character separately one after the other, in order to keep them separate in her head. I became curious and downloaded the kindle version there and then. Mr Wroe’s Virgins has different chapters with the four different voices in first person who provide a commentary on what is happening and what their own feelings are, and also how they view the others. Although some of the chapters are just a bit too long and drawn out for my liking, Rogers creates some splendid and very different characters in this one book. You could not mistake the one for the other and so you have a very believable story with four young women who arrive at The Sanctuary for different reasons and who experience what is happening to them and around them in a very individualistic ways. Well worth a read, if you want to remind yourself how it should be done: character development.