Monday, 30 November 2009

Have a cuppa with your characters on their day off...

The following section from "Necropolis" by Anthony Horowitz [Book 4 in The Power of Five series] fed my imagination and sparked inspiration:

(from page 155, hardback edition:)
"...all the books in the library are biographies."
"Of all the people who have ever lived and quite a few who are still to be born. We keep their entire lives here. Their beginnings, their marriages, their good days and their bad days, their deaths - of course. Everything they ever did."
(You also learn that these books contain all the things that haven't happened yet)

The young hero enters this very real library through a dream dimension. The speech quoted is by 'The Librarian' who apparently has no other name and is the only librarian in an endlessly large library.

I love this whole concept. It got me thinking and I've come up with a few questions and ideas to prompt further writing and thoughts.

What would be written about you on a good or bad day?
What about those in between days? The days that come and go without major incident. The ordinary days. The days that appear to fly by in blur or drag miserably.

What about the characters in your present WIP? We don't really give them an average day to live during the course of a novel or story. Why don't you take time out to write about one of their ordinary in-between days? If you feel it necessary to justify this time spent then you could use this average day as a catalyst for something bigger. After all, in life, it is often the small things that can affect huge change. A ripple effect can start from what may seem an inconsequential event.

Whether you choose to create more from the day or not - it may help you get to know your character further if you spend a day with them that is outside of the chaos, action or intensity of the plot.

Make a date with your character to have a cuppa and a catch up. Do you really know them? Are they the person you thought they were?

If you try this, please let me know how you get on.

The Power of Five series of books has its own website at . For further information about Anthony Horowitz and his writing he can be found at and on Twitter at .


  1. I think my characters would just spend the day in bed after what I throw at them in my NaNo novel!

    Or maybe a day in therapy!

    Julie xx

  2. Oh that library is a brilliant idea. I love it.

  3. Julie - excellent point, I think the same may be true for the characters in my YA novel.:-)

    JJ - I know it is wonderful. AH is a talented man with the sort of imagination I relate to.

  4. I always give my characters quite detailed backstories, or biographies. I don't always use everything, but it helps me to oknow them better.

  5. Thought provoking post. Especially since I'm a professional Librarian as well as an aspiring writer.

    I'm getting to know the characters in my WIP bit by bit. It's kind of like peeling back onion layers but I don't cry as much. :)

  6. Great post...and I'm just going back to read it again!!


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