We all have history, we all have background stories, and as we meet new people we share little bits, and then maybe more, and then maybe an almost complete life story if the new person becomes a partner or best friend… Almost complete, because some of our lives maybe boring, or the stories may only be half-remembered, or misremembered, we may hold things back, keep things concealed – not necessarily for any wrong reason, we might just have private parts of our past.
When I’m writing, my characters have to have pasts which may be just sketched in, just the briefest of outlines, or the actual plot might be contained within a character’s past so more of it is revealed; however usually my stories are set in the present and the past history of my people is just sketched in to make them realistic, and give them depth.
When I started writing ‘Radwinter’ about a man’s search for his ancestors, his story was a little more complete but only told in broad sweeps, letting the reader put in the details. His mother had died from alcoholism when he was eighteen, and his childhood had been chaotic and awful – I explained that in a few broad sweeps; the readers understood this, they needed few details to be able to imagine for themselves what his life was like in the past.
Unexpectedly I found myself writing a sequel to ‘Radwinter’, ‘Magick’, and gradually more of the background and life stories of the characters were revealed, little incidents recounted, little scenarios explained… and when I wrote what I thought as I was writing it, the third and final part of the Radwinter stories, the character himself found out more as his brothers shared stories with him.
Now I seem to be writing another Radwinter story – so not a trilogy after all. The characters themselves have developed and changed as things have happened, marriages, the birth of children, the revealing of secrets, and the life-stories outside of the narrative have become fuller and more complete. The life of a child who was only just two has been followed by the reader for the last couple of years, and he is now nearly four and about to go to school. I can’t imagine I will keep writing these Radwinter stories for ever (although new plots do seem to be popping into my mind all the time!) but readers will be able to share the characters progress and have a fuller and more complete history than in most of the other books I have written.
Will I ever write my own life story? No!
If you haven’t read any of my Radwinter stories, published as e-novels, you can catch up with them here:
Raddy and Syl: