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Character Channelling

Novella prequel to SIX DEAD MEN
Scheduled for release end of July

As I plug my way through my Palindrome [WIP] edit before its release at the end of July, I’m working hard at channelling my central character. This is not that simple considering he’s a 13 year old boy, highly intelligent and fairly reserved too. He reads books some older people would find challenging, has an antiquated vocabulary and spends far too much time on his own or with adults. Oh, and let’s not forget his parents are Scottish (dad) and Romany (mum) so he’s bound to have a Janus complex. If this isn't already a psychological condition then I think it certainly should be.

I’ve been struggling to establish his voice for some time now and repeatedly write him in too formal a manner. It’s all about striking the right balance to ensure he’s believable and intriguing enough so readers get invested in what happens to him and those he is closest to. I’m having a hard time of it. The delete button is getting a pounding while my mind whirls with a flurry of ideas which seem fantastic at the onset then utterly rubbish once down on the page.

My trusty writing group are never shy of sharing their opinions on this matter. While their criticism can seem harsh at the time, I trust and value their input enormously. On occasion I leave a session feeling as though I’m on bloody stumps (as with the last one a fortnight ago) but they’re very rarely wrong. When I get it right they heap praise on my efforts and then I’m all aglow in their sunshiny beam of approval.

In my bid to find my inner 13 year male self I’ve also taken to watching documentaries attempting to categorise gender such as Channel 4's Genderquake. While I’m learning a whole new set of vocabulary, finally understanding that ‘binary’ is not just a mathematical term I’ve shied away from for years and feeling deeply for the trauma many of the participants in the programme experienced; I don’t think I’ve managed to channel my character effectively as yet.

Things are getting fairly desperate and I’m on the hunt for a teenager I can corner and interrogate. Yes, this is the rock clinging to the hard place I’ve arrived at. If anyone has a spare 13 year old boy with the attributes stated in paragraph 1, I’d appreciate the interaction, sans Gestapo type interrogation methods I promise. Till this opportunity presents itself I’ll have to continue to rely on my trusty writing group and the delete button on my laptop.

 If you have any advice on the subject of character channelling or a 13 year old boy available for loan please feel free to say so in the comments section of this post.


  1. I applaud you in your bid to make your character as plausible and real as you possibly can. I think it's brave to take on a young character as the young person's world changes so much from generation to generation. Watching documentaries sis a good idea. I don't have a 13 y.o I can lend I'm afraid.

  2. Thanks Lindsay. Luckily the book is set in 1975 so all I need to do is imagine what it was like being a teenager then. Not too much of a stretch as it's an era I was growing up in. But I've had to dig deep.


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