When I love the book I’m reading, that alternate reality can occupy anything between 40% and 100% of my real life. This could not happen, unless I cared.
THE 7 STARS TO BRILLIANT CHARACTERS:
- Plan strengths
- Consider weaknesses
- Weigh them down with expectations
- Give them goals
- Nothing should ever be easy
- Make them moral - so they care
- Light the path to evolution
When the characters are well-written the reading experience is so intense it can make real life seem an intrusion. Real characters can do that.
Last Friday, I went to Chalfont St Giles.
I said to my son, “Do you want to go to Rickmansworth?”
This is shorthand for go to buy second hand books and a sausage roll from the bakery.
He answered, “No, I want to go to Chalfont St Giles.”
I took time to unpick why. There was a signpost my son drove past each day on his way to school. He had complex ideas about seeing the name but never being able to get to the place.
I resisted the need to panic - because the SATnav was in the other car – considered it an adventure and we set off.
I didn’t know Chalfont St Giles was where John Milton wrote Paradise Lost (school made me study it.) The author crafted Adam’s struggles and Satan’s ranting in a beautiful cottage at the top of the hill.
Reading Paradise Lost was the first time I’d learned to appreciate Archangels. Raphael, in Near Edgware, was named for his form and function – fiery protective, his role was to argue for truth in every situation. Blast. I still love that book.