Spain Remembers

Spain Remembers

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Surrey International Writers Conference II

Over a hundred volunteers worked the conference. Maybe that is why it ticked along like a giant clock.  Sixty authors took part, many well known such as Diana Gabaldon, Jack Whyte, Robert J. Sawyer, Mary Balogh, and Anne Perry.  Nine workshop choices vied for each time slot. 

The bind moggles.  How to decide?

I ended up in “Character Driven Fiction’ led by Hattie Ephron.

Hattie was dynamic.  She believes fiction flies along with well-drawn characters. 

Hattie writes mysteries but, she told us, there’s no mystery to creating interesting people.  Your character must have a goal. She must have back story which gives her motivation for doing what she is doing. You have to know everything about her or him– how she dresses, behaves in various situations, shops, drives, reacst to confrontation.

“Conflict drives fiction,” said Hattie. In the first 100 pages of your novel establish your protagonist and what that character wants.  In the middle, conflict! A villain appears. Hattie likes a well-rounded villain with believable motivation.  The villain’s goals compete with the protagonist’s.  At the final section, our main character is transformed and realizes his/her goal (or not, if we are tending literary.)

At the end of the workshop, Hattie shared her pet peeves about crime fiction (or crime movies or tv shows). She dislikes:  
1. A main character who does dumb things, such as running into the forest in high heels, failing to call for help etc.

 2.A character who gets arrested for no reason.

3. A character who lies for no reason, keeps quiet about something important, fails to notice tell-tale signs.

4. A character who forgets to charge a cell phone, gas up the car, heed the warning (“Don’t go into the abandoned ware-house, Mary”), return the call, read the message and so on. 

An amusing end to a useful session.

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