Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Angela Marsons on When Characters Rebel

Author Angela Marsons talks about when her characters take on a life of their own.

I learned many things while writing Silent Scream but one thing that will stay with me for a very long time is the fact that characters that you’ve created don’t always behave in the way you had planned.

As I began writing Silent Scream I thought I knew my characters completely.  After all, I had invented them, they had formed and developed in my head and they would do exactly what I wanted them to do.  Or so I thought.

It became clear to me early into the process that the character of Kim Stone had other ideas.  Chapters that had loosely formed in my head changed once I began to write them because the character had decided otherwise.

There is a scene in Silent Scream where my main character is peering at a derelict building through a rickety fence.  As I wrote the scene I only wanted for her to observe what she saw beyond the barrier.

As I recorded her observations I could tell that something didn’t feel right.  I could feel her impatience, her curiosity, her determination and I couldn’t understand why.  Suddenly it hit me and I sat back in my chair shaking my head. 

Oh no, she wants to climb over the fence,’ I remember saying aloud.  And instantly I knew that’s what her character would do in that situation.

Once I accepted that she had dictated the direction of the chapter the pencil flew across the page as I gave her the freedom to be herself.

I had always intended that at the start of Kim Stone’s journey she would have only one friend who also happened to be her trusty work partner, DS Bryant.  However, I didn’t expect the banter that would emerge whenever I began writing scenes between the two of them and the dry sense of humor that she possesses. 

Even now my main character continues to surprise me.  She appears to view my loose plan in an advisory capacity only.

This may sound as though I am completely barking mad and I completely accept that.   The logical part of my mind knows that my characters are fictional and that the stories are coming from me however every time I pick up a pencil to begin a new Kim Stone journey a small voice inside me says ‘let’s go and see what she’s been up to now’.  It is as though I am turning up unannounced as she begins work on another case and she allows me to tag along for the ride.

When I’m not writing a Kim book I have a vision of her standing on a hill with her hands on her hips, glowering at me with an expression of ‘well, what do you want me to do now?

The beauty, for me, of creating unpredictable characters is that there is still that element of surprise during the journey. 

And as each new Kim Stone story begins, even I never know where it’s going to lead.

Silent Screams by Angela Marsons (£5.59, Bookouture) out in paperback 14th July.

Even the darkest secrets can’t stay buried forever…
Five figures gather round a shallow grave. They had all taken turns to dig. An adult-sized hole would have taken longer. An innocent life had been taken but the pact had been made. Their secrets would be buried, bound in blood …  Years later, a headmistress is found brutally strangled, the first in a spate of gruesome murders which shock the Black Country.  But when human remains are discovered at a former children’s home, disturbing secrets are also unearthed. D.I. Kim Stone fast realises she’s on the hunt for a twisted individual whose killing spree spans decades.  As the body count rises, Kim needs to stop the murderer before they strike again. But to catch the killer, can Kim confront the demons of her own past before it’s too late?

More information about the author and her books can be found on her website.  You can
also follow her on Twitter @writeangie and find her on Facebook.

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