I’m continuing to enjoy and be challenged by the writing MOOC i’m doing (massive open on-line course, this one run by the OU and properly called Start Writing Fiction) I’m finding it very hard to put my own familiar way of doing things aside and being open to the challenges – in fact getting out of the massive rut, gorge, chasm I find myself in!
Writing about character I first wrote something about being on a railway platform observing other people. It was actually based on a different piece of observation I had really done, standing waiting for someone – I changed it to me waiting for a train. I shared it here a couple of days ago, but here it is again.
Waiting for a train… standing waiting, watching others waiting… A man walked past me, a big man with two tiny dogs, and as he passed me, the dogs decided to swap places – confusion and difficulty! One nearly tripped the man over, the other didn’t want to change sides, there was a lot of snapping and bad temper as the man tried to calm them both down… I just stood and watched, and watched as they continued a more peaceful progress up and down the platform.
The train hissed in and the doors clicked and opened; I didn’t notice the dog-man, too busy getting into the carriage and finding a seat. Settled, note-book out and pen in hand I gazed out of the window as the station slipped past – except it was the train slipping away.
The ticket inspector came through; he had a curious gliding walk as if he was hovering a couple of inches above the ground; he had a most benign expression, and a clicker in his hand for marking the tickets as he inspected them. As he moved down the carriage he was accompanied by ‘clickety-click, clickety-click’… In the past it was the trains themselves which went clickety-click, clickety click… My mind wandered and I began to write
We then had to work on it, and this is my second version, taking myself out of my description and invented a character. I have deliberately not described him physically, but have tried to give hints about him:
He stood, waiting for a train. He stood waiting, passive and tired, watching others waiting. My name is Jakov, my name is Jakov.
Jakov stepped back as a man walked past, a big, intimidating man with a tattooed face and two tiny dogs. The dogs decided to swap places, nearly tripping the tattooed man. There was snapping and bad temper from the dogs, unexpected patience from their owner.
Jakov just stood and watched, and watched as they continued a more peaceful progress up and down the platform.
The train hissed in and the doors clicked and opened and Jakov hefted his bag on his shoulder and stepped into the carriage. He looked for the dog-man, but there was no sign, nor sound of the yapping creatures as he found a seat. One piece of luck in all this, it was a seat by the window.
He sat, note-book on the table before him, pen in hand, but gazing unseeing as the station slipped past – except it was the train and Jakov slipping away.
I wonder what will happen to Javov (whoever he is ) next!!
Here is a link to books I’ve already written, I’m working on another which I hope will be published in early summer: