Good morning! We’re pleased to say we’ve just about recovered from your Halloween efforts last week. So let’s get another round of QuickFic on the go!
If this isn’t your first rodeo, you can head on down the page and check out this week’s prompt. We’ll see YOU GUYS later.
If this is your first time playing, let’s just quickly run over how it all works:
At 9:50 on a Friday, we give you a prompt. Sometimes it’ll be topical, sometimes it’ll just be something we like. Muse on it with your muse, then write us a story, of 250 words or less (certainly not more, for then we would have to disqualify it), inspired by it. Give that story a title and pop it in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, all by 2:50 this very afternoon.
At 3:30, we’ll announce the winner and the winner will win some rather excellent Faber books. Five of them in fact.
That’s all pretty straightforward, right?
Great. Let’s take a look at that prompt then:
Nice one, Tom.
See you guys back here at 3:30!
By entering our QuickFic writing competitions, you’re granting us non-exclusive worldwide permission to reprint your story on our website should you win. The winner will also get a chance to win a place on one of our Start to Write one day courses, because at the end of the year we’ll be choosing our favourite of all the winners – the champion of champions, basically.
Tonight, our Writing A Novel students are being treated to a guest tutor session from acclaimed thriller writer (and Academy alumna) Colette McBeth. Here‘s a really great thing she wrote about unlikeable characters over on Killer Women.
With this in mind, and given that we’ve spent the last couple of weeks thinking about character and point of view, today’s writing exercise is all about creating a character our audience can care for, even when they might not particularly like them.
- Write a monologue (750-1,000 words) where your main character describes the worst thing they have ever done. How do they feel about it? Would they do things differently now?
- Now write a shorter piece (500-750 words) about the best thing they have ever done. That might mean the most selfless, or the kindest – or the thing they feel most satisfied about.
- Finally, write a short monologue (around 500 words), either from the point of view of your character’s best friend or from a third person narrator. What do they think about either of these events?
As Colette says, creating a character we can care for is all about building facets for them in this way. Nobody is all good or all bad, and people behave in certain ways for all sorts of reasons. Bearing that in mind as you go forward with your novel will mean you end up with rounded, interesting and believable characters, with whom we can empathise, even when we don’t agree with them – and who aren’t just there to serve the plot.