Henry Sutton
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Character and purpose
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This chapter builds on the necessity of having strong point-of-view characters, who ultimately determine the narrative drive, along with reader engagement. Ways to build on drive and character are explored. Gender, ethnicity and age are discussed in context, along with fictional responsibility and ideas around appropriate and inappropriate appropriation. The importance of knowing your characters intrinsically, ahead of too much mapping and sketching, is practically articulated. Aspects of violence and capturing murderous characters are explored with reference to fiction centred on serial killers. In particular, works and approaches by Thomas Harris and Val McDermid are analysed, and theoretical and critical approaches to fiction by James Wood and Professor Andrew Cowan are considered. Striving for character originality and authenticity is further examined, with reference to genre and non-genre writers, such as Kazuo Ishiguro and Raymond Chandler, along with a detailed analysis of Sutton’s novel Get Me Out of Here.

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