THE “C WORD” METHOD OF CREATING CHARACTER DRIVEN NARRATIVES

Lucille Ball – one Crazy Character!

I may have gone a bit C Crazy but once I started, I just couldn’t stop.

As we all know the very best stories spring from the motivations, needs, strengths and weaknesses of the Central Character. The most important part of the word Character is the ACT in the middle. Action reveals the truth of who this person is. Not what they look like, though this gives us clues. Not what they say, though this can be great and very useful if juxtaposed with what they do. 

The Character must ACT, not react. They must Choose an action at some point, and they must Change or refuse to Change. This is what makes a protagonist the main character really.

Don’t go too crazy!

So, the C WORD METHOD.

A Character needs to have a CURSE, a CAUSE, CRAVING or a CALLING. They can have all four if you like but they must have at least one. This Curse, Cause, Craving or Calling – which in not C word terms would be your story goal or the character’s “desire” – usually springs from a CRISIS in their past. A wound or scar in their backstory that has shaped who they have become. 

For example, Madonna the pop star may have been a neglected middle child, always searching for her father’s approval so she CRAVED attention and sought it from the applause of strangers.

Harry Potter has a CURSE – the lightning bolt on his forehead is proof of this imbuing him with a piece of Voldemort. He also has a CAUSE – to save the world from the curse of Voldemort’s darkness and a CALLING – to lead the forces of good and defeat Voldemort. 

A story I recently wrote set during the reforming of the Catholic church through Vatican 11 in the 1960s was about a nun who CRAVED divine connection, was CURSED by her childhood in an orphanage and had once felt a CALLING but now found it lacking.

Nuns having fun 🙂

Figuring out your character’s C words will help form the plot of your story. Whether it’s flash fiction or a full-length novel.

            The C WORD METHOD continues as follows:

Start with your CHARACTER with a Cause, Curse, Calling or Craving

Then throw them a CALL TO ACTION – otherwise known as the inciting incident (also nice use of Cs) or CRISIS that spurs them to pursue their C word.

Then all you have to do is pile up COMPLICATIONS, CONFLICTS OR CHALLENGES into a CRESCENDO until you reach the

CLIMAX and then show us the CHANGE in the CHARACTER in the 

CONCLUSION!

Have fun creating chaos!

A cacophony of crazy Cs to create a cool, character-driven, competition-catapulting (fingers crossed) story!

Have a go. What is your character’s C Word?

Lots of love

Edwina xx

The Mystic, the Businesswoman and Me!

“Marketing Shmarketing!” I always used to say. For most writers this promotional aspect of our writing careers is the hardest to navigate. We’d much rather just hide out in our little dreamworlds, creating stories and playing with words. Oh yes, even now that sounds much more appealing than tooting my own horn. But, over the past twenty years of writing, publishing and attempting to get my work seen and read, I’ve learnt that marketing is actually a VITAL part of the work I need to do. You too! Even if we magically score a publishing contract with one of the major trade publishing houses, their efforts promoting our book will only last a month or two at most. It’s time to bite the bullet folks!

Bite that bullet!

I’ve recently started a marketing course, the only marketing course I could stomach because it was aimed at Spiritual Businesses. Although I am primarily a writer and teacher of writing, I am also a yogini and have always been a seeker. Most writers are highly sensitive people who are exploring what it is to be human, which leads us to explore realms other than the physical world we inhabit. My writing has a deeper undercurrent touching on the mystic, so it was natural for me to be drawn to the course run by Radleigh Valentine and Muni Syed of the Muniverse (he’s a marketing guru who’s worked with lots of big name spiritual authors). 

            And it’s helping. So much of what was stopping me, and you too I’m guessing, from really getting out there and putting time and effort into promoting or marketing our books, is mindset. It all felt a bit dirty really. To use an Australian term, it made me feel like a “wanker”. But a few ideas I’ve picked up from the course are already helping to change my attitude. 

            Number 1: We deserve to be paid well for what we do – the energy and effort and skills that go into crafting books of high quality are valuable.

            Number 2: It’s not that dirty word “selling” it’s SHARING – sharing our stories with those who would enjoy them or be helped in some way by them. How will they find our books if we don’t let them know about them?

            Number 3: It’s not yucky old “Marketing” it’s magical MANIFESTING! Yes! Most writers have dreams of best-selling success, but how do we manifest this miracle? By getting behind our books and marketing them.

Those three simple ideas have really helped change my attitude. But the most powerful exercise we’ve done so far was a meditation where we were asked to sit down with our inner Monk and Marketer. I call them my Mystic and my Businesswoman. We all sat down at the table, me, my mystic and that sassily suited up businesswoman. At first, I was right on the mystic’s side – I am happy just hiding out and quietly doing my thing, sending out good energy, doing things for free or cheaply, making sure everyone has access to my teachings and all of this still rings true. But then the mystic and I looked at the businesswoman and she was crying. Exhausted from working so hard to keep a roof over our heads, bills paid and food on the table. She’s been doing her best, and the mystic and I have been ignoring her as much as we could. She’d have an idea and we wouldn’t follow through. We’d write the book, we’d even publish it, but would we tell anyone about it? Maybe once. But, you know, you don’t want to nag!

Suddenly I was filled with gratitude for all my inner businesswoman has done. All she needs is a little bit more effort from me. The mystic needs to embrace the businesswoman’s ideas. We ALL want the books read. We ALL want them to reach people who would enjoy or benefit from them. And we all need to make a living.

So sit down with your inner Mystic and Businessperson – or you may call them your hermit and your salesperson, or your writer and your promotor – whatever terms resonate with you. But sit down, have a chat and work out how you can bring more balance into your career. Find ways to toot your own horn that sound harmonious not harsh. 

            Remember, it’s not selling, it’s sharing. It’s not marketing, it’s manifesting the careers we want as successful writers.

            You can do it!

            Let me know how you go. Who sat down at that meeting with you?

            Lots of love

Edwina xx