Character Study: Ophelia

While writing my upcoming novel Ghoul, I created a character designed to serve the function of a ‘talking head’ aka someone for Mya, the protagonist, to bounce ideas off. However, I understand talking heads are bad; they result in clunky dialogue that’s obviously just exposition in the form of dialogue. So, with that in mind, I tried to turn my talking head into a semi-developed character with her goals and motivations.

I made this character a Sphinx. I’ve always been fond of a bit of Egyptian mythology, as those who read Amenti will have noticed, and it didn’t take me long to decide where in London my Sphinx would live and she promptly moved into the Egyptian walk of Highgate Cemetery.

I started drafting a bit of dialogue between my Sphinx and Mya, and before I knew where I was my ‘talking head’ fast outgrew the role she was designed for and took on a life of her own. My Sphinx had become Kepi and all of a sudden I had another book growing in the back of my head.

While Kepi lives in the Highgate Cemetery close to the ghouls who dwell beneath it, there is another Sphinx in London. Ophelia and Ophelia even as a rough character concept was very demanding and spent her first hours of life in my head telling me her story.

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Life & Love: Terry Pratchett – 1948 – 2015

The world has lost one of its brightest stars.

This man, although I did not have the pleasure of knowing him personally, has influenced my life more times than I can count.

I grew up with the stories of Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg and Magrat, it was Sam Vimes and Carrot that pulled me through college and university, and it was Moist Von Lipwig who shoved me head first through those first few months of working in the real world.

But more than that, it was while reading the Fifth Elephant that I said to myself “I wish I could do something like this.” And so I did.

His influence on me was great, and I will miss him.

His influence on the world was greater.

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Writing rants: Why do we love villains

I cannot speak for everyone, but I love a good villain.

A lot of us usually find ourselves rooting for the ‘bad guy’ and feeling miffed when they fail. Scar from the Lion King, Ice King from Adventure Time, the Devil from Legend, Darth Vader, the Red Queen, and, of course, my personal favourite Dracula. Their tragic failings move us in ways that Simba’s, Bubblegum’s, Lily’s, Luke’s, Alice’s and Mina’s successes fail to.

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