Yesterday I was in the city of
This is the place that inspired two of my novels: An Englishwoman in France, which goes back to the Roman occupation of this region, and most recently Writing at the Maison Bleue which goes back to the German occupation in World War 2...
I’ve been meaning to write some posts about the role of characters in the writing process and how one builds on the seeds of a character after he or she has walked into your mental and imaginary space. I thought first I would reflect on characters in Writing at the Maison Bleue with reference to a helpful article I stumbled on. I’ve already mentioned my conviction that the best writing follows intuition and naturally derived insight. But here in the relaxed sunshine I thought an exercise in back-checking might be useful. This article mentions four elements: a driving need, desire, ambition or goal; a secret; a contradiction; and vulnerability
Of course my characters in Writing at the Maison Bleue are already made - Francine on her bicycle, Joe with his rucksack - living, breathing and striding out between two covers. But in this series of occasional posts I will look at all eight characters in the light of this article and see if I have hit the mark.
What do you think?
In this excerpt we meet Abby:
sat up straight and yawned. The rough fabric of the hostel sheet folded rather
than slid down her smooth form. Felix lay against the pillow admiring the way
fine dark hair gathered like an arrow in the small of her back. He laid his
finger on the nape of her neck and allowed it to sketch a line to just that
She shivered slightly. ‘Don’t do that, Felix.’ Her light voice was well modulated, low key. Felix had a good ear and had always known that he could never make love to a girl with a voice like a corn-crake, no matter how beautiful she was. He’d fallen for Abby first because of the silver tones of her voice. She was very pretty, if too plump to be beautiful, and she could be violent and crude in many ways. But she had the voice of an angel and that was enough for Felix.
More characters and excerpts soon…