20.8.16

Main Characters of Forgotten Women

Charlotte McBain, daughter of a Scottish laird, spent a lonely, neglected childhood growing up in a fine castle in Kirkcudbrightshire and has no wish to be forced into marriage by her bully of a stepfather. She is passionate about art, stubborn, courageous and determined to find freedom and do something useful with her life. It is 1936 and Spain is on the brink of civil war. Across Europe, young men are enlisting in the International Brigade to free their Spanish brethren from the grip of Fascism, leaving sisters and lovers at home. But not all women are content to be left behind. Charlotte, who likes to be called Charlie, also has a desire to help people less fortunate than herself, not only the tenants on her father’s estate but also the people of Spain caught up in the Civil War. She and her dear friend, Libby Forbes, have a somewhat complex relationship, being from opposite sides of the class divide, but wish to do what they can to help.

Libby Forbes is a somewhat unsociable and self-opinionated girl who very much likes to be the centre of attention. She rarely reveals her true feelings about anything, particularly the fact she is passionate about Ray Dunmore, and fond of Laurence too. But her worry is they may both be more fascinated by her friend Charlotte, who is a beautiful and rich woman. She strives to remain friends with her, despite the jealousy she feels. When Libby’s brother goes missing in Spain in 1936, she is desperate to find him, no matter what the risk.

Rosita García Díaz, a young Spanish girl, is fiercely loyal to her family and country and having suffered badly from the war, she cannot stand by and do nothing. When Charlotte and Libby arrive, they become good friends. Three brave women, inspired by patriotism, idealism, love and even revenge, who dare to do battle against tradition and oppression.

Scotland 1986: Libby’s granddaughter Jo, is accused of displaying a forged picture in an exhibition. And finding a letter tucked into the back of it, realises she knows little about her grandmother’s life. Why has she kept silent? Feeling the need to find answers and recover from her own personal traumas, she goes to Spain to find the effect the Civil War had upon these three women’s lives, and why they are forgotten women. What she learns will change all of their lives forever.

Click here to download a sample: http://www.fredalightfoot.co.uk/



Published 6 September by Lake Union Imprint




5.8.16

The Yin and Yang of Character.

In Chinese philosophy the concept of yin - yang means dark and light, used to describe how opposite or contradictory forces are connected. This concept lies at the heart of traditional Chinese medicine, and even martial arts. Dark and light, female and male, low and high, cold and hot, water and fire, earth and air— all are thought of as manifestations of yin and yang. This is because they believe light cannot exist without darkness, and we all know men have their feminine side and women a masculine one.

In the 2nd century Confucious apparently attached a moral dimension of good and evil, although the modern sense of Yin-Yang stems from Buddhist adaptations of Taoist philosophy which generally discounts good/bad distinctions, preferring the concept of balance. They insist that yin and yang are not so much in opposition as complementary opposites, a part of a dynamic whole. But we in the west love to say there’s a little bit of evil in every good, or a little bit of dark in every light, and vice versa. And it is an excellent way of viewing character. How do we start to develop a character using this idea?

FIRST: Think of the chief character trait and choose a keypoint characteristic. 

Make a list of all the positive aspects of it. And then the negative. You can make these into a vice-virtue wheel, or just do a list.

E.g: Independent

Positive aspects:
Self-sufficient
Determined
Well-organised
Free thinking
Individual
Non-partisan
Self-contained
Often quite courageous

Negative aspects:
Obstinate
Stubborn
Won’t always accept help or listen to advice
Proud, even arrogant at times
May find it hard to accept failure

NEXT: Now ask questions: 

What does the character want?
What is his/her aim or goal?
Why does he/she want it?
What is the source of his/her motivation?
Why does he/she behave as she does?

There must be obstacles to prevent him/her achieving their goal.

Conflict is the stuff of fiction. External conflict will come from other characters, fate, events and incidents that you the author throws at her. But her keypoint characteristic will determine how she deals with them. The negative side of the keypoint characteristic is the flaw, the inner conflict that is preventing him/her from achieving their goal. But the positive aspect of this trait should hopefully help to overcome them.