A Favourite Character In A Fun Scene To Write
Hi Isabella and thanks for inviting me onto your blog today.
Writing a first novel takes blood sweat and tears and in my case about 4 years as I do not have the luxury of being able to write on a full-time basis. Writing the second book took about half that time but in many respects was much harder to complete than the previous one.
Although I knew all my central characters very well, and spent some considerable time developing the secondary characters that I needed for my new plot, I still felt constrained. That constraint came from understanding that the reader had expectations, they would have favourite characters, they would expect those same characters to behave in a particular way.
When I write, I inhabit my characters in the same way that I inhabit a role when I’m on stage. I know the characters’ mannerisms, their pattern of speech, their gait and how they move. So it came as quite a surprise to me, when writing the scenes in Merle that involved 6 year-old Pierre Mancelle, that his persona was by far my favourite to inhabit. Perhaps I liked the freedom to let out my inner child for a while! Perhaps it was the challenge of ‘playing’ a little boy – working cross-gender is not new in theatre.
Anyway, I thought I would introduce you to a scene I had great fun writing. Pierre is out playing on his bicycle when he sees Beth Samuels – a young English widow – arrive back at her chalet in the village of Messandrierre…
“Junior Gendarme Mancelle on patrol, Madame Samuels.” A wide smile on his face, he saluted smartly.
“Pierre… sorry, Gendarme Mancelle, how are you?” Beth moved another box onto the front porch.
“I’m going back to school tomorrow. My medicine is finished today so Maman and the doctor said I’m better now.”
Beth smiled at the simplicity of his view of life. “That’s very good news. And does Maman know where you are?”
“Oh yes. I told her I was going on patrol and she said that I’ve got to be back home by four.”
She glanced at her watch, there was another half hour of freedom for him yet. “Oh, well, if I phone her and let her know you’re here do you think she will let you give me a helping hand with all these 16 boxes?”
He nodded as Beth took out her phone and dialled. A few moments later, assent given, Beth opened the door of the car to reveal a pile of box files laid out across the rear seats.
“Do you think you could take those files into the snug for me and put them on the floor in front of the book cases?”
Another smart salute. “Happy to help Madame Samuels.”
Beth placed two box files, one on top of the other and gently rested them on his proffered forearms. Then she picked up the first box. “Follow me, and as we’re working together, now Pierre, I think you’d better call me Beth.”
The boy stopped dead in his tracks on the top step of the porch. “Maman says I’m not allowed to do that. She say’s I can only call grown-ups Monsieur or Madame.”
“OK.” Beth balanced the box unsteadily on one arm as she used her spare hand to unlock the door and push it open. “Well, we can’t go against what Maman says, can we?” She stood with her foot holding the door back to let the youngster through. “How about you call me Madame…?” She was about to suggest her own shortened name and then realised that, whilst an adult used to speaking English could cope with the final digraph, a boy of six may not be so capable. As she placed the heavy box on the floor in the corner at the far side of the hearth, she heard in her mind his young voice pronounce her name in the standard French manner. A smirk spread across her face as the mental picture of the bordello keeper in a Victorian gothic novel that she had read recently came into her mind. Hmm, Madame Bette is perhaps not a good choice!
And if you want to know what happened next, then you’ll have to but the book!
Angela Wren is an actor and director at a small theatre a few miles from where she lives in the county of Yorkshire in the UK. She worked as a project and business change manager – very pressured and very demanding – but she managed to escape, and now she writes books.
She has always loved stories and story-telling, so it seemed a natural progression, to her, to try her hand at writing, starting with short stories. her first ;published story was in an anthology, which was put together by the magazine ‘Ireland’s Own’ in 2011.
Angela particularly enjoys the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. Her short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical. She also writes comic flash-fiction and has drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio.
Her full-length stories are set in France, where she likes to spend as much time as possible each year. She’s currently researching and working on the follow-up to Merle.
Jacques Forêt, a former gendarme turned investigator, delves into the murky world of commercial sabotage – a place where people lie and misrepresent, and where information is traded and used as a threat.
The Vaux organisation is losing contracts and money, and Jacques is asked to undertake an internal investigation. As he works through the complexity of all the evidence, he finds more than he bargained for, and his own life is threatened.
When a body of a woman is found, it appears to be suicide. But as the investigation takes another turn, Jacques suspects there is more to it.
Who is behind it all…and why? Will Jacques find the answer before another person ends up dead?
Merle – the second in a new crime series featuring investigator, Jacques Forêt.
Website : www.angelawren.co.uk
Blog : www.jamesetmoi.blogspot.com
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