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Day 5: My favourite literary characters

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Categories: author blog challenge, BLOG, Latest

Day 5 : Favourite Literary Character

I am yet to find the one literary character that stands out above all others as my favourite. I couldn’t think of a favourite author so a character is harder. And one that everyone will have read? Even harder.

Initially I thought Liz Bennett aka as Mrs Darcy from Pride and Prejudice because who doesn’t love that character. I do but then I didn’t love the book. Jane bored me and the other sisters like Mary were just too one dimensional for me to really love it. I love the romance. I loved Mr. Darcy. Who doesn’t about from Mrs Bennet and Wickham?

So I got back to thinking and I remembered my favourite book as a young girl was Anne of Green Gables.  I loved Anne. She was a minority too. She had carrot ginger hair. I loved the film with Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie as her nemesis Gilbert Blythe. This was the Sookie Stackhouse books of my generation. Vampires weren’t in yet and I found Sweet Valley and Nancy Drew a little too American blonde for me. I was nursed on Mallory Towers and anything Enid Bylton.

So recently I was at my Dad’s house and I found a copy of one of the Anne of Green Gables books. It’s the one where she is having mixed feelings about Gilbert and he gets really ill. ( I need a moment to compose myself)

I read the book and as I did I realised that I didn’t like Anne much at all! Where was this character that I thought was funny and ambitious and didn’t mess people around. Not in this book. And then it hit me. I actually loved Gilbert Blythe. He was the faithful man who knew what he wanted and went about it with a dogged determination that was missing from Anne. Anne wanted the unrealistic dream that she had held as a young girl. Gilbert wanted Anne….and a medical career.

So this threw me. I had always thought that my favourite character would be a woman. But I loved the arrogance and influence of Darcy and the faithful nature of Gilbert Blythe. These are both  characters who weren’t the protagonists but provided the stability the main character lacked. It is evident from the beginning that they are destined to be together and yet the main character has to get over herself before she can get with them.

I pause to consider the significance of this male character who is consistently in love despite being rejected by the woman time and time again. And then I realise that what I like about the male characters is that you see them grow and take responsibility for their mistakes a lot earlier in the book. So their resolution allows you to enjoy them more fully. I find the angst of female characters – cos we always seem to feel the need to give them a crippling flaw such as insecurity – a little old. I loved the shopaholic series but after a few chapters you find yourself frustrated with her inability to control her spending. Didn’t she learn from book 1? Apparently not.

I’m off to write a literary character I actually like. A woman

© Chelsea Black

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I am what I read

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Categories: author blog challenge, BLOG, Latest

Day 4: I am what I read

I read very little. This is a bit of a lie as I have periods where I read three books in a day easily but the quality of what I read is so poor at times that I discount it as actual reading.  I may be a bit of a reading snob? Or just a snob general. Let’s not judge eh? I studied African Feminist Literature so that’s really where my heart lies. But there is too little of this for me to consider it a genre I can immerse myself in as often as I read.

I used to read anything and everything but there is a reason behind my choices in material now. If I read literary masterpieces whilst trying to write I lose my own writing voice and end up sounding like a rip off of whichever author I’ve just read. I don’t think anyone wants to read a rip off of a great author. Besides I’m arrogant enough to think my writing voice is worthy of being heard so don’t want to be reminded of the greatness that has already been published.

I only read for pure escapism and pleasure now and nothing taxes me too much. The odd philosophy or sociological book graces my bookshelf I admit but I don’t read much of anything. So my book shelf over the last few years consists of the following:

Self – Help

I think these help keep me motivated when I’m stuck at home all day alone and need something to cuddle up with in the night time. At the time I read them I nod sagely and agree with some of it then I tend to forget it days later. Self-help is great and psychology is fascinating but I’m not that messed up I guess. Well not yet.

Chick Lit

This is pure escapism. I’m disappointed if the protagonists don’t get together. I once read a Mills and Boon books where the couple had all sorts of issues and couldn’t get it together because of their respective pasts. I almost wrote in to complain. I don’t want to anticipate the ending except if it’s to wonder which of the two guys she will choose. They are more complicated to write than read tis true but this is my not so secret pleasure.

Business Books

Sadly I have to read for real work otherwise I would never be able to fund the very expensive hobby of blogging. I love Felix Dennis How to Get Rich and buy it for everyone.  So books on entrepreneurship are motivational and make me think that one day I too will muster up the capital to make a real go of it. One day.

I never read horror, rarely read fictional books written by men and spy / epic adventure books. No interest there at all. My book tastes reflects my film tastes. Oh wait. I read a Nicholas Sparks book. But just the one and that was after the film.

And for these I am happy. I don’t attempt to read other blogs which is ironic but I find so many people copy blogging styles and topics that I don’t want to be accused of the same. I read the odd bit of poetry, some biographies and lots of books on sex but that’s just research right?

© Chelsea Black

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Day 3: Favourite writers

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Day 3: My Favourite Writer

I don’t have one and I think if I did I would feel a little unfair. Like did I have a favourite book growing up or do I favour one child over the other? I would have to say no. I like some more than others but that’s it. As for the writing mentors I’ve tried this but the 2 so far weren’t as focused so quickly we fell out of simpatico.

However I have had the opportunity to meet 3 authors I admire greatly. They are not necessarily my favourites but they rank up there as women authors who are worthy of mention

First at university I worked with Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer. I wasn’t a big fan of her works as it was of a time and space I didn’t recognise but this woman worked at her writing. Every day from 9-5 she would be in her office writing. It was the first time that I ever conceived writing as an actual job. She was disciplined, something I still struggle with today and there was an order to her that made you realise that there was a lot of strength and passion in this petite woman. I learned how to write as work.

Then I met Tsitsi Dangerembga a Zimbabwean author of Nervous Conditions the book I wrote my dissertation on. Her life as an African girl who had lived in the UK then moved back to Africa mirrored mine and I met her in London as she was promoting a film. It wasn’t the meeting of spirits I hoped for but I realised that some writers aren’t necessarily comfortable with their gushing readers. She was one of them. And yes, when inspired I can gush with the best of them. I learned that how one writes and how one is in real life aren’t always the same but people will assume.

Then most recently I met blogger turned writer Belle Du Jour at a Sunday Times event in Oxford. Yes for a woman who doesn’t leave zone 2 without a lot of bribing I managed to score a ticket to the event where India Knight was interviewing her. I love her honesty as a writer although you can see that there was so much left unsaid in those books.  I met her afterwards and realised that everyone has a story and a voice and that to write is a means of expressing a lot of emotions that many people keep repressed.

And so whilst these may not be writers that are my favourite they have inspired me to be a disciplined writer who shares her stories with others. And for that I thank them

© Chelsea Black

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