By Annette Young
When I talk about imaginative writing, I mean, extending your initial concept, stretching it and shaping it. Your aim is to bring it to life in a way that will engage the readers. You have to think outside the box. Fiction mirrors real life, it has to, irrespective of the genre, and when we utilise real life, we include the dramas, the highs and lows and deep reflective moments too. To do this, we have to spend time crafting realistic characters.
You have to draft multiple layers so that your characters have a present, a rich history and, a future filled with hopes and dreams. Characterisation techniques mean that the readers learn new elements, with snippets of information seeping into the story as it unfolds. In other words, there is compelling development throughout.
If you consider people you already know, you’ll realise that you learn more and more as time continues. It’s a constant but gradual process of learning. There’s no trust initially and it takes time for trust to build and for compatibility to grow.
People have multiple facets. They may be kind, they may be warm-hearted, they may be stubborn or feisty. They may have selfish elements or be quick to anger or, they are likely to be a combination of all things. We learn new aspects about those we know all the time.
People react in unexpected or strange ways at times, they surprise us or even shock us. This is important and you may witness those you know acting out of character – especially if you believe that you know them well. This happens for several reasons, either your perception of this individual is wrong, or, it could be that their actions are fuelled by past experiences. People can be motivated by certain things, or demotivated by something else.
Imaginative writing calls for your characters to be multi-faceted, and this makes them far more interesting as a result. Consider all these factors before you even start to write. What are you trying to achieve? Do you want the reader to feel sorry for the character or to recognise strength in the presence of adversity? Do you want the character to start off being nice and then, gradually reveal a more sinister or selfish side? Is the character manipulative or just a lost soul? This type of creative thinking is the only way to truly bring your characters to life.
One of the greatest aspects of writing for me is being able to craft and develop interesting new characters and to breathe life into them. I like to test out their reactions and to put them in situations which will make them react in a specific way. Seriously, sometimes, I am surprised by how my characters react and yes, if you think I am talking about them as if they are real, well, they are to me.
Imaginative writing gives you the tools to take your creations a step further. You spend time creating convincing and compelling characters and by doing so, you begin to believe in them completely. You don’t just see them in your mind’s eye, you know them inside and out and you’ve added flesh to their bones. Create the essence of these beings by considering all aspects of their persona. Give them hidden depths and keep the readers hooked while you reveal secret aspects of them.
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