Practice

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

It may be a shock to discover I’m not a massive fan of martial arts films so this quote is new to me. It worked so well for me today I thought I’d share it with you.

I’m trudging through the last part of my OCA module. Attitude is everything of course and I was aware I needed to approach my work in a positive way but I didn’t know what to do. When I found myself cleaning behind radiators, I figured I needed to stop avoidance tactics and face up to this last section. I flicked through Short Circuit and fell upon an essay by Claire Wigfall who talks in detail about how she creates her characters. I tried her technique and what do you know it’s worked. I’ve got a story rumbling around and characters that I want to find out about.

Character is what I am good at, what I enjoy reading and what I enjoy writing. People fascinate and terrify and I have an eye and ear for the details and oddities that make a person unique.

I realised what’s happened. I’ve been guided to try so many different styles (magical realism or sci-fi for example) and as a result I’ve lost sight of my characters. My initial thought was that I’d wasted the last few months. Perhaps not. Perhaps I’ve realised that an interesting story can only ever be built on an interesting, rounded character. No amount of quirky imaginative details will make up for a character that is laden with stereotypes. I knew this but I had become distracted by trying out new techniques and styles. I’m frustrated that I have wasted a bit of time but I’m happy that I’ve come back to such a basic truth.

Which brings me back to the wise words at the beginning of this post.

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