Incidental happenings that don’t initially have any story structure often occur through character-led writing. This form of writing has been popular for some time now.
Some writers proclaim that character-led writing is the way a writer should start work. I think differently, for me the story is everything. In my book Soho Honey I planned a story that was initially based on fact and a character evolved who became the conduit through whom I could tell the story.
If you have a strong story, then interesting characters will naturally evolve. Lack of a story produces a series of events rather than an engrossing tale.
Forming a strong story first is hard work because you can’t get away with characters giving you an escape route from a crisis in the narrative. Success in overcoming the challenge of writing an intriguing story with unexpected events and surprising twists is story-telling at its best as illustrated by Stephen King, Agatha Christie, Peter James and other authors who use story to involve their readers.
Allowing your characters to thrash around and build a story is much easier. That does not mean that great stories never come from character-led starts, but the story has not been the priority.
My publisher offered me the opportunity to write a short story for a competition with a maximum of 3,500 words.
I started writing it last weekend and thought that I had plenty of time to complete it.
But as happens so often when you think that something is going to be easy overconfidence kicks in and I underestimated the time it would take.
By Wednesday, when the story had to be submitted, I had only completed half of it and had written myself into a corner with a complex plot.
It is now Saturday, and I have written 2,500 words and am struggling to unpick the situation I have got my leading character into.
Although I’ve missed the deadline, we will put the story on the website as soon as I have finished it.